Alright, I’m going to have to settle this once and for all. Brooklyn is not a genre. It’s a borough. Many talented, influential artists have called it home, and nobody’s questioning its output of quality musicians. But it doesn’t describe the music they play, and if there’s a “Brooklyn sound,” it’s a variable one. Take a look at some of the artists Brooklyn has produced: Les Savy Fav, Busta Rhymes, TV on the Radio, Woody Allen, Carole King, Enon, Mos Def and Harry Nilsson. I certainly don’t see the correlation between any of those bands. And I don’t see one between any of them and Pilot to Gunner either.
Too many bands have been accused of being part of the “Brooklyn sound,” Pilot to Gunner being no exception. The problem with saying Pilot to Gunner fit in with the Brookyn music scene is that, sonically, they have much more in common with bands from Washington, D.C. Pilot to Gunner’s latest, Get Saved, is an album of eleven raw but listener-friendly punk rock songs, recalling the Dischord sound of the mid-nineties. And it’s probably no coincidence considering Jawbox’s J. Robbins, a founding father of said sound, produced the album.
The ideas presented on Get Saved are far from new ones — loud guitars, tom-heavy drums, soaring choruses. But Pilot to Gunner are wise to rehash ideas that never fail. The opening title track begins with a jagged riff similar to No Knife’s “Riot for Romance!” and charges into a melodic rocker, in which singer Scott Padden promises, “everyone get saved if you join us.” His delivery is so raw and impassioned that whether it’s true or not, you want to believe him.
“Barrio Superstario” is the first single off the album and a motherfucker of a rock anthem. “Barrio” is the only song to boast some lead vocals by Pat Hegarty (who trades off with Padden) and some badass handclaps during the bridge. Another notable standout is “Metropolitans,” whose chorus shifts rapidly from fierce to soaring.
Pilot to Gunner know how to rock the party, and they do so heartily. And though some songs on Get Saved tend to get lost in stale Fugazi-isms, the standouts more than make up for it. These guys have proven to us that they know how to write a damn good song, and in due time, they’ll be ready to crank out a perfect album as well.
Burning Airlines — Mission:Control!
Hey Mercedes — Everynight Fire Works
Sparta — Wiretap Scars
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.