Thursday, September 16, 2010

Banner Pilot - 'Resignation Day' re-release

Generally speaking, remastering albums is a bad idea. Either the source material doesn’t change discernibly (Four Minute Mile) or it changes way too much (Let It Be… Naked). Either way, they can feel like a middle finger to fans. The recent re-release of Banner Pilot’s full-length debut, Resignation Day, defies this notion.

To be honest, I didn’t come around on Banner Pilot until last year’s Collapser. Before that album, I wrote them off as another Dillinger Four clone. It didn’t help that Resignation Day kind of, sort of, well, sounded like ass. By the band’s own admission, the record wasn’t properly mastered, so even calling this re-release a remaster is a misnomer. This is more like how the album should have sounded all along. The guitars are crunchier, the vocals are more distinct in the mix, and the songs just sound better and fuller overall. This is Midwestern drunk punk done right.

The new sheen also highlights what was already good about the songs. Guitar leads are revealed to be much more intricate than originally thought. Nick Johnson’s lyrics are clearer too. Banner Pilot has gotten a lot of Jawbreaker comparisons, which I don’t agree with musically, but Johnson is definitely one of the better, more descriptive lyricists in punk rock today. On that level, he’s shaping up to be a Blake Schwarzenbach, although it remains to be seen if he has a 24 Hour Revenge Therapy or Dear You in him. I actually get a mild Green Day influence. Nate Gangelhoff’s bass lines have a bounciness reminiscent of Mike Dirnt’s playing circa the ’90s, and the opening riff of “No Transfer” kind of sounds like a reworking of “American Idiot.”

Even if you’re not sold on rebuying Resignation Day for the fidelity, the album does come with two bonus tracks, “Spit Out” and “Deadender,” originally from a split with Monikers. But for those looking to expand on their library of Midwestern punk, now’s the time to buy Resignation Day. If you enjoy punk rock songs about being disappointed, cold, and probably drunk, Resignation Day is for you. It’s right there in the title! Then get Collapser. Well, assuming you already own Versus God and The Greatest Story Ever Told. Oh, and Alkaline Trio’s records for Asian Man. And ya know what, I’m gonna throw the Soviettes in there, because I always liked them and they don’t get enough love.

1 comment:

Gregg Raybin said...

109"Remaster" is just a fancy way of saying "transfer again" - and re-mastering virtually always improves a recording, because over time people have gotten better at it, and the technology has improved. It's only really undertaken when people feel strongly (and agree) that it wasn't done so well the first time. ReMIXing, on the other hand, is far more controversial, as it substantially alters the relationship between tracks (instruments, vocals), or removes some of them entirely ("Let It Be...Naked").