EP REVIEW: Pilot Touhill - Keeping Secrets
By: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: 17th Street Records
Genre: Pop, Reggae
Sounds Like: Sublime, Everlast, Rob Thomas, The Police
Weakness: (Vocal Style) Spike the punch, or make more conservative, EP Release.
Los Angeles based Pilot Touhill release their latest 4 song EP entitled Keeping Secrets was Produced by renowned Producer Lewis Richards (Dirty Heads, Sublime) and was recorded at 17th Street Studios.
The CD takes flight with Track 1 “Never Gonna Come” an inviting Reggae driven intro piece that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with its flowing tropical rhythm, impressive musical ambience painted against a hypnotic vocal vibe. Track 2 “One Thing” is an upbeat follow-up that serves up driving rock rhythm against rocking guitar against a grand slam chorus. Track 3 “Sitting on the Top of the World” shifts gears a bit with its thought provoking wisdom that offers a heartfelt vocal delivery, amazing harmonies against compelling lyrical content. As the EP slowly unfolds, I can hear many different musical textures reminiscent of classic acts like The Police, Sublime, Jason Mraz, Sugar Ray, Everlast, Bob Marley, Grateful Dead with respect to some of the vocal harmonies, worldly rhythms and dynamic writing style. The music itself is an impressive blend of progressive, alternative, and classic rock. Touhill's voice reminds me of a combination of Sting and Bradley Nowell (Sublime). Touhill's impressive voice goes down smooth and is full of passion, vulnerability and bold honesty. The musicianship from all the session players and sampling touches are world class. Also present besides the 4 piece standard you will notice sizzling horns, Saxophone, Percussive accents, lush harmonies, well placed Keyboard accents all built upon a thick as a brick rhythm foundation. The songs themselves are extremely consistent, dynamic, and melodic in nature. The songwriting is extremely creative and highly original. Each song possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. I especially like how the whole EP just flows across the ears song for song and note for note. From rocking I’m all Yours” to hooky “Doin’ Time” to the jamming title track this EP has something for just about everyone. The EP ends with Track 6 “Keeping Secrets" the perfect finale statement for an EP of this caliber.
I realize this is a subjective art form but wished Touhill would push the envelope a bit more with his vocals and overall writing. I wish the music had a crazy, insane side to it reminiscent of Sublime, The Gorillaz, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even Cypress Hill. The overall sound of Pilot Touhill sounds very poppy to me and reminds me of a rocked out version of Jack Johnson. There's nothing wrong with that however if I was the Producer I would encourage Osorio make subtle micro-changes to his overall vocal style, approach and personality to thus fit the more conservative format. If Pilot Touhill wants to take their music drown a more marketable pop direction this would be the best fit. Bottom Line - either make the music more crazy or make the vocal style more conservative. I also typically deduct one star for EP Releases. The Full Length release is a much more complete snapshot of what an artists is capable of at any given time.
Overall Keeping Secrets by Pilot Touhill is an extremely entertaining, dynamic and happy-go-lucky catalogue of music. Its strong suit – the amazing amount of originality, strong production value, and impressive songwriting one will find within each piece. Pilot Touhill has to offer and stands out from other artists with their unique signature sound, passion and heightened level of musical enlightenment.