Downpilot - New Great Lakes
The latest Downpilot is an intimate, but Big Sky poetic evocation of the little moments that are really the big ones, the ones we miss while looking around for the magic moments that never come. "New Great Lakes" recalls, in that sense, early Ryan Adams, who was the master at such perceptive, emotional slight of hand. Singer-Songwriter Paul Hirage is not as effortlessly wise as the Adams of Whiskeytown or "Heartbreaker," but he often comes close.
Relying mostly on acoustic guitar, piano, and "homemade recording equipment," (the various contributions from Downpilot alumni) Hiraga's voice echoes with weariness but with a surprising ability to reach higher. "Edge of The Flood" kicks off the record with its best song, a soaring ode to both freedom and the hesitant resistance to it. Such bravery runs alongside whistful regret, as on the Baroque, rainy day "Ny Storms" and "The Rustbelt." Hiraga also shows a knack for the three-minute rocker, as witnessed by "Desolation Pass." Still, his meat is the mid-tempo, reflective ballad, and the record ends with two of the best. "Through Your Lines" and "Rosebud of the Plain" draw from the wide spaces of the American Midwest as the background for these spotlights on domestic lessons learned.
Downpilot got a break last time around, with a couple songs from "They Kind of Shine" popping up on "One Tree Hill" episodes. "New Great Lakes" is a step up, into a limelight far above that of Television. This is a mature, generous set, memorable for its poetry and eye for the epic.
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