The Pilot Ships

The Pilot Ships

The Limits of Painting and Poetry


Low-impact, low-velocity, lo(nesome)w nights, starry skies, cool breezes with the windows open. The Pilot Ships soundtrack days you wish didn’t happen, but do it in an oblique way; presenting a hopeful face that hides inner pain, see for example Carl Dreyer’s Joan of Arc.

The Pilot Ships comprise members of Stars of the Lid, Bees Are Black, and Monroe Mustang. While Bees Are Black and Monroe Mustang are unfamiliar to me, I can see the residue of Stars of the Lid on The Pilot Ships. Both bands occupy a sleepy dreamscape, where song forms either drift apart or totally dissolve. The melancholy on The Limits of Painting and Poetry is implicit rather than explicit; where some bands would soak the listener in waves of despair (a la Black Tape for a Blue Girl), The Pilot Ships opt instead for a slightly country-damaged feel, reminiscent of Johnny Cash’s more hopeful moments. They mix soundscape and song, often within the same track, but sometimes not. While the instrumentation is orthodox (guitar, bass, keyboard, drums, and misc. sounds), the songs are not. They begin and end surreptitiously into drifting atmospherics, without losing narrative unity.

The Limits of Painting and Poetry wouldn’t be out of place on Projekt Records, but I’m glad they share the company of In Gowan Ring, Tiltmaster, and Static Films.

BlueSanct, 1703 North Maple Street, Bloomington, IN 47404,

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