Album Review: ‘Part Time Pilots’ Teach Us ‘How to Ruin Everything’
June 21, 2017 Amy Pollock 0 Comments
Since forming in 2012, Part Time Pilots have managed to fast-track a back catalogue that would impress even the toughest of critics. In these five years, the punk-rock Omagh/Belfast-based band have recorded two albums, an EP and have now released their most recent project, How to Ruin Everything.
Firstly, what makes this album extra interesting is the story behind it. Each song acts like a puzzle piece as the listener unfolds the journey of a depressed ‘Johnny’ who has spent his whole life working in a hateful job and decides to venture to Las Vegas.
When listening to the first track …Ruin Everything, you can immediately tell this track is a force to be reckoned with. Featuring an uncanny resemblance to that old-school, nitty-gritty Nirvana-turned-Foo Fighters sound with a freshened up, foot-tapping Royal Blood-inspired rumble – expectations levels are automatically set to high.
The second track, Workhorse, flaunts the lead singer’s voice exceptionally. Think of those much-missed Kurt Cobain vocals – inject a hint of soul and a slight Southern twang – and you have Enda McCrory. Workhorse also boasts the band’s intricate rhythmic guitar skills to intrigue the listener even further and explains the struggles of character Johnny with lyrics describing how he’s “Done with the donkey work, it’s not made for me”.
Throwing Shapes tells Johnny’s first encounter with a stripper named Pandora, which turns into a love/hate relationship, with McCrory singing: “It’s not real love unless you pay for it” before progressing into “Give it up Johnny, let it go; She don’t have a soul”. Despite this dark narrative, this song is very catchy and a destined crowd pleaser for future gigs.
After the sassy, funky and chant-worthy sound of Pandora’s Box, it is towards the end of the album where the mood takes a more sombre turn. Penultimate track RGB relies on harsh drums to structure the song whilst the heavy guitar reflects the depth of the ongoing story.
Permission to Die acts as the ultimate finale to this consistently roaring album. It initially goes against everything you’ve learned about PTP so far with it appearing more delicate in sound yet still maintaining those haunting, honest lyrics of Johnny’s inner thoughts: “I see my life before my eyes and it’s soon forgotten” before progressing into “If there’s a train to the afterlife from this then I guess I’m in” as he contemplates suicide.
This song not only leads into a gradually aggressive tone, but also unexpectedly chops and changes between it’s original, slow state before bursting into a dramatic guitar riff accompanied by clashing drums and lulled, layered vocals echoing McCrory’s contrastingly eruptive voice; ending the album on a personally sad yet musically satisfying note.
It’s safe to say that PTP have unapologetically gate-crashed their way into what is a heavily saturated genre and are, without a doubt, making their mark. Showcasing them at their hardest and softest, How to Ruin Everything perfectly encapsulates PTP’s wide range of talent while giving the album effective context and individuality. Listen to it loud and listen to it proud – but you’re going to want a whiskey for that full rock ‘n’ roll experience.