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Pilot to Gunner
GET SAVED
(Arena Rock Recording Company)
Stars graphics

Vacillating between tension and release, Pilot to Gunner’s taut, lurching guitar lines could have given engineer/producer J. Robbins (Jawbox, Burning Airlines) a severe case of déjà vu. But standard-issue post-punk guitar work aside, this band’s charms are largely derived from quirky song structures and complementary herky-jerky rhythms more reminiscent of early XTC than of Jawbox’s brand of math rock. The marriage of angular guitar and spasmodic pop is a happy one, opening a window into the clanging, churning roar for a little melodic breath and adding a peppy little bounce to the coiled hum and whine. Singer/guitarist Scott Padden’s stuttering intonation recalls XTC’s Andy Partridge, but in his lyrics he’s more akin to Jets to Brazil’s Blake Schwarzenbach, unleashing a torrent of words that reflect a cold, anæsthetized existence ("No-Blooded," "Metropolitans") and a literate man on the verge of a nervous breakdown ("Hot Circuitry," "Downstate"). "Hell Carrier" offers the observation "To tag as new everything that’s polished up/Takes more nerve than genius"; "The Product" counterpoints a tight Gang of Four–ish riff with a soaring, hummable chorus. Rarely lacking for energy or ideas, Get Saved opens with three stellar tracks and doesn’t lose steam until the last couple of songs.

(Pilot to Gunner open for Eagles of Death Metal and the Minibosses this Friday, April 2, upstairs at the Middle East, 472 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square; call 617-864-EAST.)

BY CHRIS PARKER


Issue Date: April 2 - 8, 2004
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