John Pilat proves with his recent release Useless Machine that you don’t need much more than an acoustic guitar and vocals to make exceptional songs. Useless Machine is a folk album that is a treat to listen to especially in a world full of singer/songwriters who sound almost identical. Pilat is a great songwriter whose lyrical dictionary can be compared to an artist like Andrew Bird. His lyrics are ambiguous, full of metaphors but also unpretentious.
The music itself feels playful, meaningful, sincere, nostalgic and hopeful usually at the same time. I would say if you mixed The Magnetic Fields and Andrew Bird in a blender you would have something pretty close to John Pilat.
Pilat kicks off the EP with a highlight entitled “Useless Machine.” It opens with a simple yet lovely acoustic guitar progression as Pilat sings, “stand up off the floor the papers and leaves and rotting disease can care less for you now.” A second guitar enters and a steady kick drum enters that adds an extra layer of emotion and energy. As the song progresses it instills a sense of hope but doesn't shove it down your throat. It’s subdued and slowly fades from existence.
The second track “Magazines and Cigarettes” immediately starts with dueling acoustic guitars progression that warms the soul. It’s a folky sound that in some ways reminds me of Simon and Garfunkel. Pilat’s vocal delivery is just as warm as the guitars. The only complaint I have is that it felt too short.
The beginning of “Young and Free” has the same notes as “Silver Bells” but no biggie. It’s not his strongest song on the album but it is still well done. "For the Sunrise" is under two minutes long but as features some of his most impactful lyrics.
He sings "The streets unwinding, The moonlights blinding, the headlights shining till the sunrise".
Pilat closes with the most melancholy song on the EP entitled “Friends In New York.” The song actually feels like two songs because of the transition that happens a minute-and-a-half in. "For the Sunrise" is under two minutes long but also features
Useless Machine is enjoyable to listen to and well written. The songwriting is good sometimes on the verge of great and showcases a very talented musician.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook