Rhythm & Views

Blind Pilot

Blind Pilot's core is two Portlanders, Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski, who play guitar and drums, and who have toured the United States on their bicycles.

Any duo who can cart around all of their equipment on bicycles obviously plays stripped-down music; Blind Pilot's sound is acoustic-guitar-focused folk-pop, with sparse, quiet drums. But that's not all that's stripped down about Blind Pilot. Many guys can get together and write sweet little pop songs à la The Shins, but Blind Pilot's deep earnestness and captivating melodies lend their music a certain intoxicating romanticism: They wear their hearts on their sleeves. Their music is so essentially simple and so immediately loved by many because of that resonance of bareness, delivered in lyrical metaphor and chords you could play yourself, drunk and sad on a Saturday night.

On 3 Rounds and a Sound, Blind Pilot add the occasional banjo, horn section and string flourish, all of which add just enough of an artistic touch. The stars of the show here are Nebeker's vocals and lyrics. "Your breath was courage laced with alcohol," sings Nebeker on "Oviedo," "you leaned in and said, 'Make music with the chatter in here and whisper all the notes in my ear.'"

That is a perfect description of what Blind Pilot does: makes soft music out of chatter, whispered seductively into your ears.