According to my calculations this is rather pricey for a 20-minute 12” EP, but sometimes you need to pay a premium for quality don’t you? I don’t know, having heard the five all-too-short numbers contained on this here disc I’m still getting one anyway. For those of you who were born yesterday, Three Mile Pilot was Pall Jenkins of Black Heart Procession and ABSIV from Pinback’s ‘90s indie band, who carved out a series of pretty much untouchable records full of sweeping piano-and-bass-led emotional rock which have all stood the test of time and hold a very dear and nostalgic place in my grinding mechanical heart.
When they spluttered back into action with ‘The Inevitable Past Is The Future Forgotten’ in 2010 I was a little underwhelmed. I’m not sure if it was just my unreasonably high expectations but to me it kind of lacked a certain something, like they were resting on their laurels trying to relive their former greatness rather than develop the aesthetic into something more than it had been in their ‘90s heyday.
Needless to say I was apprehensive about this one...but I needn’t have been! Starting with bouncy, upbeat opener ‘Long Way Up’, every moment on this EP is indulgently brilliant and sounds like you would hope a collaboration between a Pinback and a Black Heart Procession to sound like. Warm, round bass tones, Pall’s silky, plaintive vocals. ‘The Escape’ has an amazing little choral break at the end. There’s quite a lot of guitar on here too, for quite a thick soundstage, more trebly than I expect from 3MP. The comparisons with Pinback’s most recent couple of albums are pretty unavoidable but they’re a band I think keep getting better so that’s a really good thing.
Weirdly enough I think both Pinback and BHP have a habit of sticking their best material on EPs, and that seems to be what’s happened here, too. I guess it’s easier to make a record that’s perfect all the way through when you’re only working with half the tracks, but that’s exactly what they’ve done here. This is their ‘Offcell’, their ‘Rome written upside down’. Sheer uninterrupted quality. Those ‘90s kids amongst you still reeling from how disappointing Braid’s recent new material was can cheer themselves up with this sweet disc here.