Pilkington's self-titled debut is at the same time their swansong. It serves as a testimony to the good time the band had together as a band. As they were recording this album back in 2018 the band members uprooted and spread out. This was basically the end of the band.
Reading this information in the press sheet I was a bit amazed. In my mind I had just reviewed two singles (Soft Flesh and All Around The Neighborhood) a year earlier. I was wrong, these reviews are already three years old. Wow, time flies!
Let’s look back at what I had to say about these two singles back in the days. On those singles the band used two vocalists. Not together on one song, but each had their own songs. It was an approach that did not convince me. I have listened to these singles again and stand by my opinion. The problem I see is they both have a different vibe that don’t really go together well. I also still think Becca is the better singer of the two. Fun fact: the song that drew me into reviewing this band was not sung by her.
Good news for me is that the issue of two vocalists is (almost) fixed on this album. Becca claims the spotlight for nine of the ten songs. Listening to this album I had a couple of moments where I thought: I know these songs! Which makes sense as three of the four songs that are featured on those two singles are re-recorded for this album. I had just listened to them minutes earlier, what a memory… I am happy to see that my least favorite song of the singles was left off the album.
A couple of weeks back I was on a small road trip. After picking up my girlfriend I said: "I have this album I have to review. You might like it, is it ok if we listen to that album now?" As the music started she declared: "you know, this reminds me so much of high school movies! Is this from one of those soundtracks?" As far as I know it is not, but I got to give it to her, it could very well be! During this trip I also learned that this is excellent music for a road trip on a sunny day.
The album starts with two powerpop indie hits. There is something strange going on with these catchy faster tracks. It is an issue with every faster track. These songs share that they are very pleasant to listen to, very catchy. If you listen to the album a couple of times you’ll find yourself humming or singing along. However, if the album is not playing, you’ll have a hard time reproducing these tracks. Does this make it less of an album? No, I don’t think so. What it does mean (to me) is that this album has less replay value. Once it disappears from my playlist it runs the risk of not coming back on that playlist too quick.
Some albums I know have excellent songs but are ruined by bad flow. Pilkington have mastered the art of song placing. This album has a flow that is amazing. The powerpop and slower songs are arranged in an order that makes every song shine. Even the songs I already knew I like better after listening to this album as a whole multiple times. The only downside is the album closer that breaks the spell a bit. “Soft Flesh”, once the song that drew me in, is on this album a bit of a strange song. Not only because it is the only song not sung by Becca, but also because it disturbs the great vibe of the album a bit. It still is a fun song though, so I'll forgive them for wanting to include it on the album.
I would also like to comment on the production of this album. It is very powerful and relaxed at the same time. There is enough breathing space in the mix to make this an easy listen. The bass is powerful in its appearance and can drive the album forward without overpowering the other instruments. Becca’s voice is embedded in the mix, not too upfront, allowing her charming innocence to carry the tune.
This album is a huge leap forward compared to the earlier singles. It is a shame this is also their swansong. I would have loved to hear how Pilkington would have evolved over time. Now, this is an album to digest as a whole. If you do not have the patience to do that, but want to check out one song to see if this fits your taste, check "Rowhome". This song is the most complete song of the album; it features a gentle opening and a great ebb and flow moving from gentler to more sped up parts.
On to the next single. Again we start with it's title track, of course: "Soft Flesh." This is the song that lured me into reviewing these singles. On "Soft Flesh" ...
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