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The Great Depression, Unconscious Pilot (Fire)
Melding sweeping chamber pop, dirge-like shoegaze and hookable rock makes the Great Depression's Unconsious Pilot a curious trip, but not one without rewards. Opener "The Baltic Sea" makes good use of its watery moniker, with rolling drums, guitar and bass, and vocals that rise and fall like tide. Through its midpoint, the songs are long and give gravity to instrumental interludes, so at times a song goes on for several minutes before words give way. But with the surprise of the bright, poppy "The Sargasso Sea", complete with buttery French horn solo, the album's entire mood shifts, as does your attitude toward it. Suddenly, the preamble to this song seems like a bit long-winded; the songs that follow -- generally somber but somehow less heavy -- seem a slow, less burdened descent. Such a sharp turn is usually only the result of sheer accident or deliberate genius. With The Great Depression, it's not clear which it is.