Eugene Weekly : Music : 9.22.11


Coming in for a Landing

Originally hailing from Astoria, Blind Pilot is a duo of indie-folkers that took a quick launch into the spotlight. It was all of three years before the band began garnering serious attention, touring successfully and playing to larger crowds like the one at 2009’s Sasquatch! Music Festival in George, Washington. Since forming in 2005, Blind Pilot worked hard to formulate a sound that uniquely fit, yet still maintained the familiar characteristics of an escalating Northwest indie-folk scene. There’s clear influence from pioneers of the genre here, too — the Shins, the Shaky Hands, etc. — but Blind Pilot safeguards originality with inimitable songwriting, so the lines of comparison blur.

In the past, Blind Pilot tours have found form on bicycles, with band members pedaling their hipster legs down the West Coast from Washington to California. Now Blind Pilot is touring again to back the release of its second full-length album, We Are the Tide. Although it’s kind of nice to imagine a group of plaid-ridden Portlanders biking all the way down the coast, it’s a safe bet that the band won’t be repeating the experience. Blind Pilot has grown since the early days and now contains six members. The band has embraced the bright sound that comes out of a big group, so it’s a fair assumption when it comes to playing live, everything is primed and ready for action.

As local music expert Cody Dean puts it, “Blind Pilot aren’t just a band, they’re an idea, an idea that you should not be tied down with the limits of sound. They prove that when you put your emotions through the music, it comes out perfectly.”

Blind Pilot plays 8 pm Monday, Sept. 26, at WOW Hall; $8 adv., $13 door. — Andy Valentine

Metalheads For Peace

A lot of sappy music came out of the beginning of the Great Recession. Acoustic guitar ballads pleadin’ for love, techno that celebrated the complete ignorance of social problems — the public seemed to suppress feelings of hopelessness in soft, non-confrontational ditties.

We Came As Romans bucks this trend, forcing a turnaround and re-examination of the times. With a mixed sound so strange it works, the best way to imagine this band is as the synth-happy lovechild of Bruno Mars and Slipknot. Guttural growls and earnest tenors offset impressive guitar licks. These six gentlemen thrash like heathens and sing like angels.

Weirdest of all, the band’s messages are decidedly positive. The title song of their debut full-length album, To Plant A Seed, expresses a sincere desire to better the world. We Came As Romans occupies the same genre-borrowing, socially conscious clatch as My Chemical Romance. And like My Chemical Romance, they’re not afraid to sing pointedly.

“I Will Not Reap Destruction” alludes to the effects of PTSD with lyrics like “This mindless flesh/let us not be conceited/I will not reap destruction/but life instead.” The lines sound all too familiar to anyone who’s read news stories about American war vets.  

We Came as Romans recently debunked a rumor on that it is a Christian band. Is America now so scared of hard-rockers who don’t want to pillage and wage war with their music that we move them to an altogether different category? We Came as Romans is here to keep it raw — nothing’s up its sleeves but kick-ass melodies.

We Came As Romans plays with Miss May I, Of Mice and Men, Texas in July and Close to Home 6:30 pm Tuesday, Sept. 27, at WOW Hall; $13 adv., $15 door. — Brit McGinnis




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