Banner Pilot – Heart Beats Pacific – Review

By Dave C.  //  Music Reviews  //  No Comments

It’s been two years since Collapser raised the bar for punk rock, and I’m sure Minneapolis’ Banner Pilot have felt the pressure in creating a worthy follow-up to their sophomore record.  It’s hard for me to say that Heart Beats Pacific exceeds those expectations, but this is one hell of a successor.

Between extensive touring and making records with their other bands The Gateway District and House Boat, it’s been a busy year for these guys. The new Banner Pilot record reflects the experience they have gained since 2009. As with most of life’s experiences, it has left them more defeated, depressed, and feeling the need to forget it with copious amounts of alcohol. In other words, they’re more inspired than ever.

Overall, this record is more poppy than its predecessor; taking their Jawbreaker influenced punk and adding a healthy dose of Screeching Weasel to the mix. This is especially evident in “Alchemy” and “Red Line”, which feature infectious riffs that could’ve come straight from My Brain Hurts. I’m very happy about that, and feel that it makes their new songs even more instantly catchy and appealing to a broader audience. Another interesting, yet very subtle influence is grunge. Certain parts such as the beginning of “Isolani” could easily come from a Mudhoney record, and I find that pretty awesome as well. This variation helps keep the new record interesting and refreshing.

My favorite song is “Intervention”. On my first listen, it stood out to me immediately. It starts off with just bass and a despondent, sad voice that sounds that says, “I know that I just fucked up everything, and I know that nights like these can leave a scar… But you know sometimes, when I’m drunk on wine, Think I can change.” This has got to be the saddest song they’ve ever written. It’s about the impossibility of idealism as you get older, and turning to drinking to cope with dead dreams. Alcoholism is definitely an underlying theme of the entire album, but this is the pinnacle of it. Nick Johnson really lets it all out on this song, and it is so genuine that it really leaves you feeling his pain… especially if you can relate to it like many of us.

This album really is a work of art, and one of the most heartfelt, albeit depressing works I’ve heard in a long time. Although I can’t say it is a game-changer like “Collapser”, it is an absolute triumph in its own rite. If you buy one record this year, make it this one. And check them out on tour. [Dave C.]

Score: 5 (out of 5)

Release Date: October 25th, 2011
Record Label: Fat Wreck Chords
Genre: Punk
RIYL: Jawbreaker, Dillinger Four, The Lawrence Arms

Track Listing:
1. Alchemy
2. Forty Degrees
3. Red Line
4. Spanish Reds
5. Eraser
6. Expat
7. Isolani
8. Calling Station
9. Western Terminal
10. Intervention
11. Division Street

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