With an album like And Then Like Lions, one would think that Astoria, Oregon’s Blind Pilot would come out roaring like ferocious felines and jungle cats that are present in big letters on their cover. In fact the opposite is true. This west coast sextet has taken the king of beasts and managed to invert it and tame its power and passion into a much more calming reverie.
And calming it is. Singer Israel Nebeker’s soothing vocals are perfect against a backdrop of layered strings, brass, and percussion. Moon at Dawn – the third track on the album – beautifully showcases Nebeker’s relaxed prowess, while combining it with the sumptuous keyboard of Dave Jorgensen. Drummer Ryan Dobrowski then kicks in and the result is a full-fledged stream of consciousness dream state. I imagine that’s what serendipity might feel like.
There is more to these five men and one woman than that though. The album’s closer, aptly titled Like Lions, plays out more as a contemporary folk tune, referencing hope and the soul being satisfied. It is also the tune where Nebeker’s voice is at its most powerful, mainly because everything else is stripped away. It is not raw per se, but is definitely the most starkly beautiful and contains some powerful images and lyrical ideas.
I did not know who Blind Pilot were before receiving this album, but have become a fan. I can already tell that they helped me de-stress and that cannot be a bad thing. And, it goes great with a cup of tea.