Tommy & the High Pilots

Only Human

by Stephen Haag

13 August 2013

 
cover art

Tommy & the High Pilots

Only Human

(MRI / Redbird)
US: 28 May 2013
UK: 28 May 2013 (import)

Some cynical advice: enterprising up-and-coming rock bands hoping to cash in on the 2013 zeitgeist but who don’t have a Mumfordian banjo/fiddle player or can’t lug a Passion Pit-ty synthesizer to gigs, can take solace in knowing that they can still play the fun.-card. How else to explain Tommy and the High Pilots, a perfectly cromulent band from Santa Barbara, CA, seemingly designed solely to open for Nate Reuss’ world-beating, commercial-soundtracking indie/dance/pop trio? On their truth-in-advertising-titled latest, Only Human, the band certainly knows its way around a catchy tune – you’ll be praying standout earworm “Outta My Head” would get exactly that after you spend a few days humming along to the soaring chorus – and the reggae bent of “Somebody Make a Move”, gently funky title track and Burundi beat of opener “Get Up” indicate the band has personality, but too often keeps its light under a basket with unremarkable, midtempo piano-colored, faux-soul-vox indie ripped straight from the fun. playbook (“Devil to Pay”, “Broken Down”, “Young and Hungry” – even the song titles seem to lack inspiration). If you’ve worn out your copy of Some Nights, Only Human will help you pass the time until a replacement arrives, but the T&HP’s occasional peeks into a more interesting, less-zeitgeist chasing band, will only serve to frustrate.

Only Human

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