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Water Sphere
Good Records

Judging by the band's earthy, "Phish-Phan" appearance, one rightfully expects a more acoustic-based, jam band homebrew, perhaps even spiced with some 70's rock flavor. Oddly enough, Pilotdrift instead crafts spacey, Bowie-like melodies and sings them through Gothic baritone vibratos. And the musical framework creates the sound and eerie hum of a haunted house - where inside wax figures and serial killers waltz together to pump organs, full orchestra chills and sci-fi synthesizers. The result? Spooky, beautiful compositions that, though at times overly melodramatic, disturb as much as they delight.

The first track, "Caught In My Trap," starts Water Sphere on the right foot. Kelly Carr's vocals quiver with a sort of Dracula-esque tone, romantic and horrific. "I am not who you think I am," the narrator warns. He's not a "warm helpful generous man." No, he's a madman, and he has you trapped! Now "you're tied," and though you try to escape, the villainous narrator pushes you to the ground. "You're falling down/you're falling down" a demonic choir chants in the background, as violins and pianos fearfully run in place, unable to escape the madman's evil clutches.

"I am not who you think that I am . . . I eat humans' heart out."

All nine songs on Water Sphere haunt the album with a similar terror of this first track, though each brings its own subtle variations. "Bubble Craft" has the imaginative, stellular appeal of a Ray Bradbury novel. The lyrics build a futuristic, technologically-advanced neighborhood that "looks like the insides of a VCR." Here people wearing "uncomfortable skirts and vests" with "sleepy kids who skip their breakfast" struggle to remember nature in a world bereft of it. Synthesized melodies and computer blips are juxtaposed with tribal, organic djembe beats, lending a vivid musical metaphor of such struggle. Such a technique of expression is a predominant feature on Pilotdrift's fine album.

Water Sphere's best track is a darkened window into one of the most feared attractions, as many films and novels have personified: namely, the wax museum. On "Late Night In A Wax Museum," listeners peer into a room where "Doris Day And Napoleon" are "deeply lost in each ones eyes," and Einstein and Marilyn Monroe are lovers "from a different time."

While Pilotdrift's horrific theatrics are, as mentioned earlier, a bit much at times (particularly on the "Jeckyll And Hyde Suite"), Water Sphere is a dynamic feat. Each song is crafted with excellence and talent. Surely this could prove to be one of the year's best.

-Justin A. Stover

Track Listing:
1. Caught In My Trap
2. Bubblecraft
3. Passenger Seat
4. Late Night In A Wax Museum
5. Jekyll And Hyde Suite
6. Elephant Island
7. Rings Of Symbols
8. Comets
9. So Long

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