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CD REVIEW: Pilot Touhill - Black Leaf

By: Cyrus Rhodes


"World Class"






Artist: Pilot Touhill
Album/EP: Black Leaf

Label: 17th Street Records

Website: http://www.reverbnation.com/pilottouhill

Genre: R&B, Alternative Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Reggae

Sounds Like: Sublime, Everlast, Bob Marley, Grateful Dead

Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: I’m Confessing, Los Angeles, Good Morning, Eazy

Weakness: Sounds more like Sublime than Sublime


Los Angeles based 3 piece band Pilot Touhill release their latest CD entitled Black Leaf  in 2010..Reading from their bio: Pilot Touhill fuses elements of alternative, rock, reggae and electronic, Pilot Touhill creates catchy songs with soulful melodies that are completely honest and unedited like any private journal entry.

The CD kicks things off with “I’m Confessing” a catchy intro piece that serves up Rocking-Ska-Reggae groove against slamming R&B driven guitar groove and driving rock rhythm. Track 2 “Los Angeles” shifts gears with its smooth as silk musical flow against heartfelt vocals and thought provoking lyrical content from Touhill. Track 3 “Good Morning” is a sizzling melody that dishes out impressive rock groove, against well placed rhythm guitar and slamming chorus that peaks and valleys its way through to emotional fruition. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Sublime, Everlast, Grateful Dead, Dave Matthews Band, Lenny Kravitz and Rob Thomas to Bob Marley. The music itself is an impressive blend of Psychedelic Rock, Funk, and R&B. You definitely get an unmistakable guitar driven Psychedelic Rock vibe from the catalogue which all the Flower Children will die for. I get the impression these guys are having a lot of fun just letting it all hang out via these songs. This is definitely one band that’s a whole lot of fun to listen to live or in the studio. The musicianship from the band is equally as impressive and the production touches are well executed. I might add the vocal abilities of Touhill are amazing as he holds his own well with an impressive vibrato and passionate baritone delivery. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere, from impressive solo guitar, amazing harmonies, impressive organ, Keyboards, slamming acoustic guitar and lush harmonies all built upon a think as brick rhythm section. This 11 song line up has a feel good groove to it and a musical personality that shines on like a priceless gem. The CD and music is highly original, and quite progressive and dynamic. From thought provoking “Hollywood Girl” to spicy "Siete Cervezas” to grooving “Eazy” to heartfelt “Black Leaf” and “The Blueprint” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with bonus Track 13 "Gray” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.  

One issue - Pilot Touhill sounds more like Sublime than Submile does. If things don’t work out for Pilot Touhill they can definitely make a dime as a Sublime tribute band.  All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. Despite the above this CD remains one of the best I've heard this year. 

From start to finish Black Leaf is an impressive release. From start to finish it’s very passionate, passionate and extremely melodic catalog of music. To say the least it's packed to the hilt with musical variety. The writing, playing, and singing abilities of everyone involved is quite impressive. As the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with them as artists. The musicianship is first rate; the songs are short and sweet musical experiences. Each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the playing, writing, and singing abilities of  Pilot Touhill are world class.   

Cyrus Rhodes