Mytwilightpilot – 555 EP

“Their Sleeping Endeavors,” the opening track of Mytwilightpilot’s debut EP 555, stops about six minutes into the song for a few beats of silence before washing back on to shore with a cacophony of melancholic pianos, slow-burn guitar (slide and otherwise), and punctuated drums, as if the band wanted the listener to reflect for a brief moment – catch their breath if necessary – before plunging ahead into MTP’s weird world of feedback, Texas death cults, solitary park drunkenness, and watching boats sink in the distance.
Perhaps it was the humidity, growing up in the South Texas suburb of Pasadena (the famous setting of Travolta’s shit-kicking, mechanical bull riding epic, Urban Cowboy), that made the boys of MTP a bit loopy and that made the four tracks of 555 as thick as the dust on your boots. Matthew Jackson’s guitarwork on “My Static Chair” evolves from modest and elegant strumming to a frenzied, Built to Spill-inspired dronefest. Matthew Crow’s somber vocals, while not breaking any boundaries per se, manage to provide an adequate garnishing to MTP’s spaced-out reverberations. If he tried to sing with any more panache, or started yelping in some Roky Erickson-influenced panic attack, or tried to pass off any lyrics more complicated than “I’m not falling down / I’m rising from the ground,” than 555 would not be the delightful and tightly focused surprise that it is.
“The Picture Show” begins like all of MTP’s songs, slowly and determined to knock you out of your socks with its eventual noise explosion. Maybe this is one of the reasons I can’t muster up anything other than an “eh?” for this band. They’re talented, modest, and I enjoy the majority of 555. But they found a formula that they like and they’re sticking to it. While it may not seem fair to criticize a new band’s four-song debut EP based on such a qualitative rationale, it appears to me that if Mytwilightpilot wants Wilco-status admiration and fame (as 555 seems to imply), then more risks need taking, more boundaries need breaking, and more talent needs flexing. Wearing its influences so proudly on its sleeve like it does, MTP set its sights a tad high, weaning explosions from well-wrought peacefulness the way they do. Oh, and “The Picture Show” sounds way too much like Wilco’s “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”
“Main Theme to “Smoking Gun'” concludes the album with 11 minutes of pure, stupefying bliss. Based on my own perceptions, the song is divided into three parts. The first four minutes are pretty standard indie pop, consistent with the rest of the album, nothing spectacular. The next five minutes revel on a sonic cloud of stilted voices and distant chimes. And when those fuzzy guitars kick in, closing out the track in a mess of bloodshot, pockmarked psychedelia, I decide that all is right with Mytwilightpilot.