Pilar – Crepescule


Jim Januszewski, who runs a web site dedicated to “the art of the mix tape” where thousands of mixes have been submitted encompassing an ever more comprehensive set of topics, has a band. Guessing that he has learned the importance of track sequencing – the delicate and often overlooked distribution of songs that together comprise the “flow” of an album – I thought taking just one song from his band’s catalogue out of context would not be very informative. None the less, like with most bands, there are highlights amid a sea of passable filler.

“Crepescule” is one such gem, as it exhibits the strengths of the band: interesting chord changes, pastoral atmosphere, earnest yet moving vocals, and just all around good songwriting. Other songs have many of the above qualities, but often tarnished by a key element (e.g. the spoken vocals on “eyesore” or the Weenisms of “ready to rumble”). “Crepescule” begins with a stop-start line shared by the bass and guitar. The bass tone has a lot of treble, which creates a happy confusion of the two instruments. Further down in the mix there is a keyboard that quietly bleeds through like a creepy night-time breeze outside your window. This subtle harmonic richness works well with the soft clear vocals. The next chord change is lofty and marked by a subtle punctuation of the snare as well as an almost imperceptible dropping out of the bass – and inversion of the bass/guitar relationship heard initially. There are clean lines throughout and the song never becomes murky despite the low fidelity of the recording. These two distinct sections are played back and forth to conclusion; simple and almost elegant.

While often dreamy and melancholic (though there are exceptions), Pilar’s songs still maintain a clarity that distinguishes them from their less qualified peers.