First Listen: Blind Pilot, 'We Are The Tide'

Blind Pilot's new album, We Are the Tide, comes out Sept. 13. i i

Blind Pilot's new album, We Are the Tide, comes out Sept. 13. Ben Moon hide caption

itoggle caption Ben Moon
Blind Pilot's new album, We Are the Tide, comes out Sept. 13.

Blind Pilot's new album, We Are the Tide, comes out Sept. 13.

Ben Moon

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Blind Pilot's hooky, low-key pop isn't the stuff of groundbreaking, boundary-pressing experimentation, but the craftsmanship and consistency at its core should never be minimized, either. After emerging out of nowhere with 2008's self-released 3 Rounds and a Sound — that year's most solidly appealing record, if not its best outright — the Portland, Ore., band has toured with The Decemberists, been showcased on Morning Edition, and recorded a lovely, gently appealing follow-up called We Are the Tide.

Out Sept. 13, We Are the Tide blooms agreeably from start to finish. Though Blind Pilot locates extra energy on the live stage — the band's sound has tightened over time, as it's expanded from the duo of Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski to a large and fleshed-out sextet — the new record focuses more on lush, pretty concoctions like the album-opening "Half Moon." We Are the Tide benefits enormously once Blind Pilot introduces a bit of thumping propulsion in the record's title track, but the softer material radiates warmth, too.

For all their lack of rock 'n' roll flash — Nebeker and Dobrowski have logged thousands of miles' worth of touring on bicycles, even after Blind Pilot's audience grew well beyond the West Coast — these guys make remarkably sturdy, gorgeous songs. With its broad appeal and good-natured grace, We Are the Tide stands to keep them off the bikes and in buses for the foreseeable future. Environmental impact aside, that can only be a good thing.

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