Conflict of Interest In Defense of Idiot Pilot and Phil Collins
posted by February 12 at 13:07 PMon
I know, I can’t believe I’m defending them either. But in January Eric asked me if there was anything I wish I would have said or revised from 2007 and my answer was actually Idiot Pilot. I wished I would have said something nice about how their new album was significantly better than their old one (though still not great). I thought Wolves came out months ago. Turns out it was released today.
Anyone remember when Pitchfork called Idiot Pilot ďthe musical equivalent of a monkey with a hand grenade?Ē That was somewhat fitting for their debut album Strange We Should Meet Here, an abrasive, unfortunate amalgamation of Radiohead and the Blood Brothers full of glitchy beats and inappropriate screaming. Though it catapulted the band into Major Label buzz and world tours its praise was mostly given by people too young to buy beer.
I was legitimately surprised by their follow up Wolves. Comparing both releases, their growth as songwriters is obvious: Strange is high school and Wolves is college. Much of the inappropriate screaming has been removed; in fact most of the Blood Brothers vibe has been wiped clean. Michael Harris will draw Thom Yorke comparisons until the end of his career, which isnít particularly a bad thing since its obvious that’s just the way his voice sounds - he’s not stealing any of Yorke’s stylings. It’s also much more effective when itís not contrasted with screamo. Instead, bandmate Daniel Anderson has focused his attention on writing huge arena rock anthems deriving from an obvious love of classic U2. The result is an interesting one Ė grown up music targeted at children. While it’s nowhere near a complete success it is vastly superior to their debut album, which if anything is a strong step in the right direction for the band. At least itís less likely to get them booed off the stage at Neumos again. I give it 2 and ĺ stars.
As far as Phil Collins goes, I canít (and wonít) try to defend his music. Or his actions. But there is an excellent episode of This American Life where he is consulted on heartbreak and breakups and he actually comes across as a nice, likable guy. It definitely raised my opinion of the man. It also reminded me how much I like the Bonnie Raitt song “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”