Thursday, May 7, 2009

We've Wooden Bones

Toronto's own Pilot Speed released Wooden Bones about two weeks ago, on April 28th. They've got the entire thing up for streaming, and I think you should check it out.

1. Put The Phone Down (mp3) (amazon) (iTunes)
2. Light You Up
3. Bluff
4. Ain't No Life
5. Up On the Bridge
6. Where Does It Begin
7. What Is Real, What Is Doubt
8. Today I Feel Sure
9. Midnight Fires
10. Wooden Bones
11. Open Arms

We've got all these new bands emerging that are overly dramatic, thinking "being depressed is cool, so let's do that". But Pilate Speed will have none of that. For sure, it has a sense of melancholy about it, but never to the point that it tries to become something it's not. The tracks on Wooden Bones come across as some of the most honest expressions of emotion in recent music. And that's not exactly the easiest of feats to achieve when the recurrent theme of the album is fragility in life and in humanity.

To listen to Wooden Bones in its entirety is like to set yourself down for a contemplative stage drama, without an intermission. We're sweetly introduced to our protagonists, Pilate Speed, during the first track, Put the Phone Down, and easily become smitten them. But as with theatre, the conflict soon arises and the darker themes of Wooden Bones become apparent. It's a tense reflection of life as our vocalist calls out to an unknown brother, once during each act.
Brother, I dared... This ain't no life for us, my Brother... Hey Brother, are you out there?
And by the denouement, we're even given the lines that tie the whole story together in the album's title track.
Our days are numbered here... It's alright.
The stage goes black, the audience applauds and the CD stops spinning. We're emotionally done for the day.

The rather heavy tone, that repeated roll back and forth between mourning and uplifting throughout the record can be somewhat tiresome, but some well-placed, stand-out tracks are just about able to make up for this . Put the Phone Down, Ain't No Life, Midnight Fires, and Open Arms are the ones to admire on this album.

In their official bio, vocalist-pianist-lyricist Todd Clark, explains the heavy tones with a fairly optimistic view.
"This life we have is all we've got, and it's short, so better make the most of it. I think the album takes an observational look at some of these universal themes, from era to era and across generations. For the most part, these things don't change." And maybe that perspective is why Wooden Bones works as well as it does. "I've been around long enough and know what I was like when I was growing up, to know that people most often care most about tunes that define a particular time and place for them."

And yeah, he's kind of right there. It won't be at all difficult for listeners to find a connection to the album. I think one of the best ways to describe it, is as a reflection. For me at least, it brings about the feelings that I get when I reflect about where I am in life. Up til this point, how have I been doing as a person? How content am I with this? What's left to do? And really, who doesn't think about these sort of things?

Check out their video for Put the Phone Down, and hear what the band have to say about the single during a photoshoot, respectively here:

and here:

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