Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Review: Take Me To The Pilot - What Makes You EP

Canadian-based power pop quartet, Take Me To The Pilot, wants to know What Makes You on their sophomore EP, but for those of us in the dark, perhaps its best to start by understanding what makes them.

The band is the brainchild of lead vocalist and songwriter, Mike Bilenki, and simply started with a song. While tinkering in his basement, Bilenki found himself between bands and not really sure what direction he wanted to head when he started work on a new composition. As it turns out, that would be the song that would reenergize the young musician and lead him to record the track, build a MySpace page to promote it, and would soon add fellow members Adam Brown (bass), Eric Grabowecky (guitar), and Jonathan James (drummer) to the mix, completing the trifecta. With all the pieces in place, the band has garnered a fair amount of success, traveling across their native Canada multiple times and performing with acts like The New Cities, Fefe Dobson, Alyssa Reid, and Brighter Brightest, among others.
And one listen to What Makes You helps listeners to understand the quick rise of this young band. Featuring an overall sound that is reminiscent of bands like Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy, and Relient K, Take Me To The Pilot crafts a fine blend of power pop and rock, giving thing their own spin, largely through the able songwriting craft of Bilenki and his able crew of musicians. There’s plenty of the requisite hard hitting percussion, jangling guitars, and up tempo jams throughout this release.

“Baby We’re Gonna Be Rich” kicks things off with a solid punch, a simple opening flowing into a solid burst of sound as Bilenki sings of youthful love, Grabowecky’s solid guitar chops holding things in check as “Time’s Up” adopts a slightly more organic sound throughout, with some “wah wah” guitar notes and plucky bass from Brown. “Melody” delivers some nice synth tones to start while Bilenki is aided by some vocal effects and hand-clap percussion before the EP segues into “the song.”
The song that birthed the band is “Carry You Back,” and, by and large, it’s a solid track. Love-based lyrics are surrounded by a full-fledged pop sound, Bilenki showcasing some nice harmony vocal work and the overall appeal ending in something rather encouraging, buoyed by some soulful string section work throughout. “What About The Time” plugs the synth back in and gets things rolling from the start before things pull out into a more traditional flow, Brown’s bass getting plenty of work as the whole bands goes into overdrive, pulling together hook-laden, catchy pop fare.

Persistent guitar kicks off “Right Now” and when the rest of the band kicks in, bolstered by Bilenki’s passionate vocal delivery and the rolling bass line from Brown, listeners are going to be glad they tuned in to this upbeat track. Some acoustic notes and a quiet intro open “Travlin’ Heart” up and closes things out on a slightly subdued note that provides a nice contrast to the rest of the EP.
Take Me To The Pilot is a band on the rise, and with a median age of 21, they’ve got plenty of time to make that trek. And while What Makes You isn’t a perfect record, it’s not half bad. As these young men get a few more miles under their feet and diversify their sound just a little bit more, they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.


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