Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Three Mile Pilot Return From "Inevitable Past" With Smooth Edges

It has been thirteen years since Three Mile Pilot’s last release, and a lot has changed within that time. The band has amassed extensive catalogs as members Pall Jenkins formed The Black Heart Procession while Zach Smith and Tom Zinser joined Pinback, and in spite of their “side projects” esteemed indie success, the triumphant return of 3MP has arrived. One of the most underappreciated bands of the early 90’s, some things don’t change, as we find 2010 era 3MP returning to their signature tone and style. The Inevitable Past is the Future Forgotten is their first album since their hiatus, and sure enough, they have continued where they left off. Released through Temporary Residence, the record finds the band back in collective form, with a noticeable influence from each of their outside projects. Long time fans will notice a smoother, more refined sound, which can most likely be attributed to the maturity gained over the past thirteen years as musicians. The jagged and angular rawness that defined the band’s earlier output hasn’t been completely removed, but The Inevitable Past is a more restrained affair, paying greater attention to atmospherics than their previous apocalyptic sonic constructions.

The very first moments of album opener “Battle,” make it abundantly clear the guys are back in proper Three Mile Pilot state of mind. Jenkins voice permeates with impact and urgency with his signature syrupy howl riding over the low end heavy grooves the band has always excelled at. Smith’s bass line provides the tracks backbone, gliding over crisp guitars, delicate piano, and new wave nuances buried just beneath the mix. If that track represents their past, then “Still Alive” is their future, a song heavily influenced by the time spent with Black Heart Procession, as Jenkins shifts between soaring immediate yelps and his more reserved gravel inflicted croon. “Grey Clouds” benefits from a slow dirge of bass plodding and a swirling electronic cloud hanging over the mix as Jenkins passionately wails, “…but you can’t stop the day, and you can’t stop the night”. Just as they did in the 90s, the sound of Three Mile Pilot is once again fresh and invigorating. “Same Mistake” picks up the tempo with a twinkling piano progression providing the groundwork for building overdriven guitars and the anthemic hook, “this cold weather is chilling my bones, this type of living is killing my soul.”

“Days of Wrath” and “Planets” provide the albums one-two knockout punch, the unquestionable highlights of the record, ripping with disjointed guitar lines breaking in every direction, while the mesmerizing bass riffs brood with ominous overtones. A continuation on the sound the band were near perfecting on Another Desert, Another Sea, effectively proving they still have the post-punk spirit in them. "Days of Wrath" is everything I love about this band, and a definite contender for my favorite track of the year. One time rough and angular, Three Mile Pilot still resides in the dark shadows, only this time around the emphasis leans closer to elegance and seductiveness. This change in their repertoire is evident on the triumphant Stone Roses reminiscent “What’s in the Air,” the pulsating “What I Lose,” the bare and honest closer “The Premonition,” and “One Falls Away” a song rich with spaced out synths and hypnotic guitar plucking accompanying gentle vocals that double for texture. “Left In Vein” and “The Threshold” find Smith’s glossy bass weaving throughout every open space, building on the framework begun in the early 90s. While disarmingly less adventurous than the 3MP of the past, the band still oozes with gorgeous melodic structuring, enormous rhythmic constructs, and sheer intelligence. The Chief Assassin to the Sinister remains my favorite record in the band’s exceptional catalog, but The Inevitable Past is the Future Forgotten is no slouch and it is a great feeling to know Three Mile Pilot is active once again.

Days Of Wrath by Three Mile Pilot by PMA


Mallory Weiss said...
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Mallory Weiss said...

The Threshold and Premonition make the album worth getting. IMO. The rest of it is well below their caliber. Again, IMO. It's pleasant, but the bone crushing intensity of the earlier material is completely obliterated. Lyrics? After the incoherent, jaw dropping magic Pall has done with words before, now THIS? God help us.