Blind Pilot, Low Anthem

It wouldn't be far off to call Portland, Oregon's Blind Pilot a pop band in folkie disguise—but it would be a little unfair. There's something to be said for the skill with which principal members Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski dress their hooks in dusty old clothes.

By relying mainly on an acoustic presentation, the duo (which tours as part of a six-piece) breathes new life into formulas that have been abused by generic, candy-coated Goo Goo Dolls lickers. To Pilot's credit, it just doesn't get any more anthemic than the sing-along chorus of "3 Rounds and a Sound," the title track of the group's debut album (named after a Chinese saying about the basic requirements of a successful marriage). But because Nebeker and Dobrowski add rough edges to the mix, the music's timid heartache and airy, double-tracked vocals speak a more convincing truth than could be achieved with slicker production.

Likeminded Providence-based act The Low Anthem shares the bill.


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