The Tilt Room is a three-piece band fronted by Mike Swindell (guitar/vocals) and backed by Anthony Pandolph (bass) and Justin Hackett (drums) from Pittsburgh, PA. The band recently released an eleven-song album entitled Nostalgic Future.
There isn’t an electric guitar to be found to my ears on Nostalgic Future. Swindell’s main weapon is an acoustic, which really defines the band's sound. Some people might associate an acoustic with ballads, guitar picking and songs that in general can’t rock that hard. That simply isn’t the case here. The songs have plenty of energy that is vibrant, kinetic and quite dynamic.
The band has stated that they have been compared to disparate groups such as Radiohead and Rusted Root. After listening to their album I would say that their music veers towards the latter. The music felt too upbeat, jovial and celebratory to be compared to Radiohead to my ears. I felt like some of the instrumental work actually had more in common with a band like The Dave Matthews Band.
The band doesn’t waste any time introducing you to the vibe you can expect from the rest of the album with “The Crutch.” It’s the shortest song on the album and in some ways felt like an intro. They start to really flex their technically muscles on the next track “Five Boroughs.” Hackett and Pandolph do a great job supporting the guitar chords. The myriad of bass notes and tom heavy beat really give the song the energy it needs. Swindell delivers a solid vocal performance displaying his dynamic and emotional range.
“On the Edge of Time” benefits from a number of distinct transitions from the rolling snare work to the subtle breakdowns and build ups throughout the song. You certainly won’t be bored listening to this track.
The centerpiece of the album felt like the title track. This song is arguably the most emotionally resonant on the album. The violin certainly adds an additional layer of meaning but the vocals feel very heartfelt on this track. ”Define Yourself” at least sounded like the fastest song on the album that has some noteworthy technical work while the closer “Near Life Experience” eventually works it way to a extended crescendo that solidifies the band's talent.
Nostalgic Future is a consistent, seamless album from start to finish. It seems obvious to me that the band not only was able to create a number of well-written songs but was able connect the energy and vibe of them as well.
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