Immediately apparent is the sense of forward-pull inherent to Co-Pilot's music. No leap of faith required, no trust, end of story. They open the door knowing full-well you'll follow them through to the end. Taking simple, singularly focused ideas and developing them over the course of six or seven minutes is a daunting task, but Co-Pilot make it their specialty. And they manage it without sounding forced or longwinded, a quality that proves both indispensable and exceedingly rare for bands in this sub-genre.
2010's The Course of Empire gives the overall impression of being suspended in the atmosphere above an alien planet. The twin guitars, manned by Derek Lemons and Mike Byers, are at once glassy and fluid, glimmering around the driving melancholy of Brandon Lemons' bass. The drum work is as understated as it is granite-solid, expertly cradling the low-end with just enough magnesium flash to let you know resident skinhammerer Brandon Zavala is not fucking around. Lately, they've enthusiastically dialed up the fuck-you-all heaviness quotient, as is evident on their 2012 split 12" with Alaskan via The Treaty Oak Collective. It tantalizingly hints at Co-Pilot's intended direction in the months to come.
Comparisons to bands like Pelican and Isis would be obvious, but ultimately unfair and off-target. Co-Pilot maintains the all-instrumental framework without the bore of Pelican's dynamic clumsiness, and they manage to imbue their songs with a depth of emotion that skirts Isis's tiresome pretension. Instead, the band calls to mind such acts as Come On Die Young - era Mogwai, Boris, Hyatari, Mono, and at times even the neo-krautrock pummelers in Horseback. Add to that the fact that they've already terrorized the continental United States and Canada twice (as in, Canada was only wounded the first time) and shared the stage with acts like Maserati, Rwake, Kosmograd and Unwed Sailor. Writ short, you should be keeping your ear to the ground for upcoming releases and shows from yet another worthy Houston sludge-unit.
~ Daniel Rills
Note: I once heard indie-metal distortion-jockey Sam Waters of Omotai and Red North swear up-and-down that he personally witnessed Co-Pilot shake the ceiling loose at an upstairs gig in Houston's Midtown district. He's an excitable, panicky bloke, prone to exaggeration, and I wasn't there. That said, in matters of the heavy I trust his word implicitly. ~ DR
released 01 August 2012
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