Pilot (Window Control)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., April 14, 2017
Greg Vanderpool perfects the sound of epic sparseness on Pilot. As with previous ATX outfits Milton Mapes and Monahans, the local songwriter works in dramatic slow builds, winding tighter and tighter but never quite breaking into a release. Opening his second solo LP, "Be My Eyes" blankets blues lines in reverb, while "To Violet" leads a percussive surge, the repetitive rhythm thrumming like coarse highway bumps into a West Texas expanse. "Has the whole world lost its mind?" pleads Vanderpool on the latter, leading into the low steady drone of "Empty Words Don't Need to Lie" and searching "Nowhere to Land." The title track stirs intensity like a sudden dust storm. The album's backside settles somewhat with the acoustic strum of "Burying Ground," alt.country wash of "All Your Steps Are Wired," and dark hue of "Do You Hear It Calling You?" Like Damien Jurado, Vanderpool slices brooding folk with a heavy, psych-drenched bent, lending an ominous air to intimate narratives, though closer "The Opposite of Shadows" moans gently in reaching for the light, never quite attained but ever-present guiding toward the horizon.