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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars +1/2 -- Intriguing acoustic indie rock from Portland, Oregon
One of the foundations of sound mixing is that you can emphasize one sound by de-emphasizing others. Portland, Oregon's Blind Pilot is a good example of how this principle works on a band level. Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski started out as a duo whose songs, built mainly on guitar and drums, emphasized lyrics and vocal melodies by stripping away all the other...
Published on February 15, 2009 by hyperbolium

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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Special
since the reviews for this album are overwhelmingly those written by people head over heels for it, i thought i'd add a bit more perspective. the album is just ok, 2.5 stars would be my max. the sound is like a more polished elliot smith with more levity. really though it's a typical stripped down indie mid-fi production, with songs basic enough that you, the budding...
Published on June 17, 2012 by Scott Reynolds


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars +1/2 -- Intriguing acoustic indie rock from Portland, Oregon, February 15, 2009
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This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (Audio CD)
One of the foundations of sound mixing is that you can emphasize one sound by de-emphasizing others. Portland, Oregon's Blind Pilot is a good example of how this principle works on a band level. Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski started out as a duo whose songs, built mainly on guitar and drums, emphasized lyrics and vocal melodies by stripping away all the other distractions. Their first full-length CD adds a second string player and a bassist, but even as they absorb touches of vibraphone, violin and horns, the arrangements retain the fragile sparseness that serves to spotlight Nebeker's melodious voice.

Likening Nebeker to the Shins' James Mercer acknowledges the high edge in each singer's voice, but only skims the surface of their styles. Mercer is, at heart, a rock vocalist, while Nebeker sings with more carefully constructed style, doubling his vocals, singing harmonies, and caressing his lyrics with thoughtfully stretched words and sounds. Backed by low-key mostly acoustic backings, Nebeker sheds the theatrics required of a rock vocalist, settles into the coffeehouse volume of a folk singer, and draws listeners into his lyrics with agonizingly beautiful melodies.

Nebeker's songs are crafted around ear-catching phrases, but even as you sing along, the verses remain enigmatic. But instead of remaining impenetrable assemblages of poetics, Blind Pilot communicates their songs' emotions through Nebeker's vocal tone and the band's subtle instrumental support. The lyrical imagery may remain abstract, but the feelings of loneliness, remorse, fallibility, and mortality, the longing to reach out and the reality of sharply pulling back, all resonate deeply. 4-1/2 stars, if allowed fractional ratings. [©2009 hyperbolium dot com]
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars my favorite album of the year, October 3, 2008
This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (Audio CD)
"Three Rounds and a Sound" is surely the best album I've heard this year -- indeed, possibly the best album I've come across since my dearly beloved Rheostatics broke up. It's fabulously beautiful, deep and sad and lovely, and catchy all at the same time. The melancholy tone of youth at the moment when youth begins to fade. Songs that sound as if they have been patiently waiting for a millenium or more for someone to finally come along and give birth to them. "Oviedo," in particular, could save the life of a desperate man if played at just the right moment. What can I say to capture how good this disc is? If it were a girl I'd leave my wife for her. There. Enough said.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saw them at SXSW in Austin, TX - been hooked since, May 28, 2009
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This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (Audio CD)
Was browsing through the SXSW lineup looking for bands to check out - the write-up for Blind Pilot caught my attention - first with them being compared to Iron & Wine as well as The Shins and then the story of their clever "Blind" and "Pilot" cycle trip. Apart from this CD as well as their live performance being outstanding, you're also taken in by how earnest and understated their performance is. I'd also say their music reminds me a bit of Calexico - especially in their ability to judiciously meld together a neat collection of instruments to create a delicate, beautiful sound.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful unique music, August 20, 2009
By 
D. Phillips (Denman Island, BC, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (Audio CD)
I first heard about this band when I saw the Decemberists in concert in Vancouver in late July. Before this I'd never heard of Blind Pilot, and I wasn't expecting a lot from their performance (they were a warm up band after all). Surprise, surprise I found that I enjoyed them just as much as the main band I came to see, and I knew I had to find out if they had a CD.

I instantly bought the CD, and its just as good as live. They play an interesting indie pop/folk combo with some imaginative and clear vocals by the lead singer. They aren't for everyone but I thoroughly have enjoyed their stuff, and am awaiting their new material. They've got such potential for such a young band.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible, December 15, 2009
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This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (Audio CD)
I read an article about this band and went to their web page and listened to some of their tunes their and immediately bought the digital album. It quite literally left me breathless and saying "Oh, Wow!". A cross between Folk, Alternative, & Pop, they seem to inhabit a genre all their own. Israel has a beautiful voice, but even the guitar alone makes my head spin. I'm a classic and alt rock fan, my mom is a country fan, I've a friend that is more into industrial rock and all 3 of us are impressed with this group.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blind Pilot is Refreshingly Beautiful, December 2, 2008
By 
Josh Friedman (Portland, OR USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (MP3 Music)
Blind Pilot's 3 Rounds and a Sound is a beautiful and poetic journey. Their story telling through lyrics and song speak volumes about life and love. This is one of those bands that you want to know before they get huge, and there is no doubt they will be huge. Seeing them live is a tasty treat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blind Pilot Review, October 31, 2008
This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (Audio CD)
Usually when I check out iTunes's song of the week, one song selected by the service each week to offer free of charge, I am not impressed enough to even bother downloading it, despite its attractive price. The term mediocre comes to mind. This is why I was very pleasantly surprised when I took a chance on the free song that iTunes offered the week of August 8.
The song was "Go On, Say It," by the folk duo Blind Pilot off their first full-length album, 3 Rounds and a Sound. I was so impressed, in fact, that I downloaded the song and then purchased the rest of the album. And then I proceeded to listen to it all the way through over and over for about a week straight. It is a wonderfully melodic musical journey that elicits visions of the Shins's first two records.
Two college buddies from Portland, Oregon, guitarist and vocalist Israel Nebeker and drummer Ryan Dobrowski, make up Blind Pilot. Last year the duo began a tour of the West Coast in which they rode bicycles the entire way. After several successful shows, the band returned to Portland to finish 3 Rounds and a Sound. On August 16 they began another West Coast bike tour in support of the album. According to their Web site, the tour will last until October 13 and feature stops in Washington, Oregon, and California.
The undeniably unusual, not to mention environmentally friendly, decision to tour on bicycles makes Blind Pilot hard not to root for, but it is the band's simple and heartfelt songs that make the duo hard not to fall in love with. The first line of the album, "The thrill here is quicker than you think," says it all. The easy melody of Nebeker's acoustic guitar and the backdrop of Dobrowski's drums are perfect accents to Nebeker's voice, which is strong, yet understated. In this way he reminds me of The Shins's lead singer, James Mercer.
The lyrics are thoughtful and surreal, especially on the song, "Things I Cannot Recall." In this song Nebeker sings about a first love and the loss of innocence in a way that reminds me of a time when I was experiencing those same things. There are relatively few low points on the album, so picking out specific highpoints is somewhat difficult, but I found myself gravitating back to the songs, "One Red Thread" and the title track, "3 Rounds and a Sound."
The song, "Poor Boy" is the undeniable low point in the album because it is boring and it lacks the thoughtful melody that makes the rest of the songs on the record so likable. The song that follows it, "One Red Thread," easily makes up for the lack of melody. I often found myself too tempted to press the skip button to sit through this poor song. The song is not terrible by normal standards, but compared to the rest of the songs it is.
I would suggest 3 Rounds and a Sound to anybody who wants to discover a great new band that hopefully will put out more music soon. You will definitely like it if you are a fan of folk or indie rock music.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I dare you not to tap your toes and bob your head in time to this album, March 19, 2009
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This review is from: 3 Rounds and a Sound (Audio CD)
Prior to this, I'd never heard of Blind Pilot before and now I can't imagine not having this album in my music library. I'm sure I'm wearing a groove in my digital library where the Blind Pilot songs reside.

3 Rounds and a Sound, the debut from this duo out of Portland, Oregon, continues to be my go-to choice of music. It never fails to raise my spirits. I put it on frequently when I'm cooking and in no time I'm bouncing around the kitchen. Dangerous when knives are involved.

Blind Pilot is primarily acoustic guitar, drums and harmonizing vocals accented with trumpets, strings, banjo, and xylophone in orchestrations that are simple but layered. I loved their sound from the first but it was the songwriting, the unusual melodies and the lyrics that really hooked me.

There's not a song on 3 Rounds that I don't like but my particular favorites include, "Paint or Pollen," "Go On Say It" "Poor Boy," "The Story I Heard," and "One Red Thread." The latter two have terrific locomotive rhythms, songs made for road tripping, flying down the highway, singing at the top of your lungs.

The slow brushed drum rhythm on "The Bitter End" and the album's title track get me head-bobbing and harmonizing every time. The latter tune, which wraps up the album, introduces two halves of the song and ends by perfectly blending them both together, one voice under the other.

Plus, these guys tour (when possible) by bicycle!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like angels making babies in your ears, December 15, 2009
This review is from: 3 Rounds & A Sound (Audio CD)
I've owned this album since this summer when i learned about these guys after seeing them open for the Decemberists. Even though they only have a single, short album, these guys are already in my top 5 favorite bands, and I can't get enough of them. Saw them perform live in michigan - face melting! So beautiful, so wonderful, I can (and do) listen to it over and over and over again!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 strong stars. Buy it immediately., March 19, 2010
By 
Thomas Shope (Jacksonville, FL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: 3 Rounds & A Sound (Audio CD)
I'm an audio junkee. I have a high end stereo and buy lots and lots of CDs. I'm very picky and buy well recorded music that is mostly acoustic in nature. Of the hundreds of CDs I've purchased in the last few years, this is among the 10 best. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Please buy it so this band will have the support it so richly deserves. Fantastic!
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3 Rounds and a Sound
3 Rounds and a Sound by Blind Pilot (Audio CD - 2008)
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