Posted on April 18, 2005 in Arts & Culture
By Jonathon Blood
The first time I ever witnessed the Pete Kilpatrick Supergroup was on a rainy day in 2003. They were opening up for Rocktopus (As Fast As) at a high school in midcoast Maine. I’ve seen them many times since then, and their sound has changed considerably. With their new album, “Yesterday Love,” the band shows definite maturity, honing the goofy singer/songwriter nature of Pete Kilpatrick into a very creative and diverse collection of songs.
The name on the album is “Pete Kilpatrick,” but, with or without the term “Supergroup,” this is definitely an ensemble effort. Kilpatrick only plays the acoustic guitar, which you can hear most of the time, but usually that’s augmented with various musicians’ electric guitar, keys, and other nifty effects. Band personnel on the album include Kilpatrick, Ethan Wright on drums, and Bernie Nye on bass. The album also features some guest musicians, like Jim Hamalainen and Jesse Remignanti on guitar, As Fast As’ Spencer Albee on keys and guitar, and Billy Libby and Adam Flaherty with backing vocals, among others.
The album opens up with the mellow “Who Do We Think We Are,” which sets the tone for the more low-key tracks, but lets the listener know that the band also has the ability to craft in some interesting guitar melodies over Pete’s acoustic strumming. The track also features some cool lyrics, like “What were you thinking when you sank all the ships in my sea / Such a cozy harbor before you came and dumped your waves all over me.”
The title track is a pretty good tune as well. It starts out with some acoustic strumming, then comes in with a drum beat that you would expect to find backing up a cheesy 90′s remix. This morphs nicely into the chorus: “When you say love, how could I forget / Yesterday love, it’s like we never met.” This song is obviously the single, and is put together in such a way (kind of a slow, heartfelt crawl) that Kilpatrick might just avoid being grouped in with the John Mayer/Howie Day genre, and that distinction is a good thing.
The next track, “Working On Your Heart,” features indie-folk singer Graham Isaacson, sporting a deep, intimate growl reminiscent of Dave Matthews on his solo album, “Some Devil.” The duet is one of the more poppy on the album, but the darker verses shared by Kilpatrick and Isaacson give the song some depth. A few tracks later is the intense, electric guitar-led “Tinfoil.” The song builds up slowly and then crescendos to a wailing guitar solo before breaking into a vocal breakdown that climaxes into guitars and drums syncopating to a fiery finish.
There are other great songs on this album, too. The shuffling, inspiring “Cloud” is followed by the vocal-synthesized “Favorite Street,” which is both thoughtful and experimental, evoking sort of a Flaming Lips vibe. The mood snaps back with “Day After Tomorrow,” which does a good job of complementing the opening track in many ways, bringing the listener back to the poppy opening of the album, while the closing track “Out At Sea” almost loses the disc’s momentum with the inevitable lovestruck singer/songwriter fare. Kilpatrick sheds a few tears on this track, which will undoubtedly please listeners of the female persuasion. But really, wasn’t that the goal all along?
This album shows definite growth and maturity. On “Yesterday Love” Pete and the gang overcome the clich?s associated with the singer/songwriter crowd and get creative, showing Portland what is without a doubt one of the best local albums I have heard in some time. Do yourself a favor and pick up the album or check out a show, because with the Pete Kilpatrick Supergroup, there’s a lot to love.