After garnering recognition with their move to Fat Wreck Chords and their solid 2009 album Collapser, Banner Pilot is using its newfound clout to remaster and reissue its debut full length. Since it was originally recorded on a shoestring budget, the remastering does wonders for the sound here, making a clear pop-punk record out of what was once a murky document. The songs on the album show real promise for an up-and-coming Midwest punk band. Songs like the surging “Overwinter” and the breakneck, jagged “Baltimore Knot” play on ragged vocals and the buzz saw of power chords. There are riffs here, but really it’s about raw energy, about the insistent drive of the songs. The band sounds hungry to make a name for itself on this record, and that intensity comes across. If there’s a complaint here, it’s that maybe this was a backwards move by Fat Wreck Chords. We already know that the promise of this record comes to fruition on Collapser. That’s where the riffs match up to the muscle of their sound. So why not get this out sooner? Even before Collapser? Perhaps this is a reaction to the attention the band is getting, or a stopgap before a new album. Either way, the album itself is a solid listen, but the timing feels a bit off.
// Notes from the Road
"Powerful Chicago soul-singer dips into the '60s and '70s while dabbling in Urdu, Punjabi and Italian.READ the article