13 April 2020 (released)
12 April 2020
Pilotcan don't fear chaos. The Edinburgh quartet originally came together after frontman Keiron Mellotte accepted the offer of a support slot from Jon Spencer (of Blues Explosion and Boss Hog fame)...despite their lack of a rhythm section or, indeed, songs. Six weeks later, the gig went ahead. It was a disaster, but the band had a blast, and decided to start recording and touring.
They've remained an on-off concern for nearly a quarter-century, and have been remarkably prolific of late, with 'No More Shan Goodbyes' arriving a mere eighteen months after 2018's 'Bats Fly Out From Under The Bridge'. Whereas the latter saw them exploring different genres and song structures, the former is simply the result of a desire to write the kind of direct, unashamedly melodic songs that they enjoyed in their youth.
For the most part, they've succeeded. Imagine the earworm tunes of post-punk greats like Echo & The Bunnymen and The Jesus And Mary Chain, bathing in My Bloody Valentine's sea of guitar noise, and you have a rough template for much of 'No More Shan Goodbyes'. On songs like 'Romanticise The City', 'Weeds' and 'Lonely Jalapeño', they take simple guitar melodies on a gradual evolution towards distortion-drenched climaxes, with the occasional surprise of a horn section used to mesmerising effect.
The band also do a nice line in straight-up power pop on 'Fire From The Mountain' and 'C.H.U.D. Song', but the real treat lies towards the end of the record on 'Cuts Of The Summertime'. Beyond the dark lyrics that seem to describe a dying relationship, it's replete with female backing vocals and a shimmering, organ-drenched chorus that is as affecting as it is effective. An understated gem, for sure.
Some may mourn the passing of those chaotic early times, but even if 'No More Shan Goodbyes' is the sound of Pilotcan playing it straight, they rarely fail to convince.