Pilot SpeedInto the West
  • MONDAY, JANUARY 22, 2007

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Pilot Speed comes dangerously close to burying itself beneath a pile of U2 and Radiohead comparisons. There are worse piles to be in, of course, and many groups would love to be associated with such legends. But these four Canadians are different. They want to be huge, to write inspirational rock songs, to join the ranks of musical royalty alongside Bono, Yorke, and company. And while Into the West fails to make Pilot Speed the tastiest Canadian export since maple syrup, its strongest tracks do rustle up an impressive imitation of The Joshua Tree's sweeping sound.

"Into Your Hideout" is the album's standout song, thanks to singer Todd Clark's powerful Yorke-ish wail. The lyrics don't express anything we haven't heard before (Clark's going to "tear your walls down" while "a bitter snow is falling," among other clichés), and the guitar riff is remarkably unremarkable. But every time Clark unleashes his arena-ready voice – with its range and power and forefront position in producer Joao Carvalho's mix – those previous flaws are reduced to nothing more than insignificant turbulence. Haters of modern rock radio won't like this album's shiny appearance and widespread appeal, but Into the West offers an enjoyable flight to anyone who appreciates strong debuts and stronger vocals. - Andrew Leahey

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