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CD Review: Pale Hollow “Pilots”

Singer-songwriter Michael Allen of the band Pale Hollow has spent a lot of time floating around the Greater Cleveland music scene helping to make the city a lot more musical. Starting out with the Rock and Roll band Jericho Turnpike, Allen and that group would exist within a rather strong music scene that featured other notable groups such as The Waynes, Jehova Waitresses, Java Bean, The Simpletons and many other groups that were just as strong. But soon, Michael Allen would branch out on his own to record his own songs.

When Michael Allen took his music, he looked for musicians who wanted to form a new band. What resulted was a musical outfit by the name of Black Amps, which would exist for a while before changing their name to Pale Hollow and in 2007; a self-titled album was released under the Pale Hollow moniker. That self-titled release from Pale Hollow saw the band create a sound that combined elements of The Kinks, The Verve and many other British influences as well as American bands such as The Byrds, The Verve Pipe, even The Raspberries into one sound. Because of the various different elements, what resulted was a sound that was very retro in nature. But that retro feel to the band’s Americana music ended up allowing the band to gain a rather large following within the Greater Cleveland area.

Years would pass after the band’s first release. The band would change members during that time. And the band would change the feel of its music just a little because of the shifting of the band members. The current version of Pale Hollow includes: Michael Allen – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar, Kirk “Nemo” Nemerovsky – Drums, Jeff Ritchie – Bass, and Scott Steinbrick – Lead Guitar. It is this lineup that is featured on the newly-released second album from Pale Hollow. That second release is entitled Pilots. And for a little help with that album, the band’s new record was produced by Al Sutton (Greta Van Fleet) of Rust Belt Studios. It was because of Sutton that the band’s album is so strong from beginning to end. 

The album Pilots from Pale Hollow begins with the track “Can You Hear the Highway?” The track contains a soft, gentle feel to the Folk-Rock music in much the same style as music that would have been found on AM radio back in the seventies. The track brings to mind the lighter sound of a band like The Eagles. And in fact, the lyrical content has a simplicity that also seems rather reminiscent of songs from that time period.

Michael Allen and Pale Hollow pick up the pace with the song “Good Thing”. While there is still a slight lightness to the music, the stronger touch to the music takes the song out of the seventies and sets it more into the early nineties before Alternative Rock would have come into being. The commercial feel of the song and the track’s refrain would place the track within Top 40 radio back at that time. The track would also feel right at home being played right alongside a current band like Coldplay.

With the next track called “Won’t Let You Down,” the band takes their music solidly into the nineties. In fact, the track seems to bring back a little of the flavor of the music that had been created back in the nineties by the aforementioned band of Jericho Turnpike. The nineties flavor of the track takes the listener back to the time right before the advent of the music genre called Alternative Rock. In fact, the sound of the music on this track would have been right at home with the very first artists that would have been played on radio stations such as Cleveland, Ohio’s 107.9 The End.

The album continues with the track “Empire”. The track contains a simplicity that features only the sound of the acoustic guitar and voice of Michael Allen. The slow pace of the song and the simple musical approach create a musical background for what sounds like an apology disguised as a poetic composition set to music. While the song is mainly just a guitar and Allen’s vocals, the inclusion of a light keyboard in the background helps to add some depth to the track.

Pilots from Pale Hollow continues with the title track of the release. “Pilots” is easily one the most commercial sounding tracks on the release. If given the chance, this track could be as large as anything on Hot Adult Contemporary radio formats today. With this track, the British influence in the band’s music comes to the forefront a bit stronger than on the earlier tracks. The music on the track contains a strong Pop influence that will remind the listener of something from the likes of Coldplay or Snow Patrol or other bands that fall into the same musical feel. And while the track’s rather long playtime of nearly five minutes may be too long for most commercial radio stations, the musical sound of “Pilots” more than makes up for that.  

Pale Hollow seems to wear their influences on their sleeves. The track “Flame On” not only screams British musical influence, the song’s musical direction truly suggests that the band was more than just a little bit influenced by the band Oasis. In fact, “Flame On” from Pale Hollow would fit nicely right next to tracks like “Live Forever” “Champagne Supernova” or other tracks that can be found on Oasis’ (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? release.

For those who enjoy a more relaxed feel to their Rock and Roll while also enjoy having some orchestral flavor to that music, the sound of Cleveland, Ohio’s Pale Hollow may just be what you are looking for. The band’s 2018 release of Pilots is one of the most commercial albums that are not available from a major label. It’s also one of the strongest albums of 2018. If you happen to be a fan over rather commercial Rock and Roll but are tired of the same bands on commercial radio, Pale Hollow and the band’s 2018 release of Pilots may just be what you are looking for.  


To hear the music from Pale Hollow, check out the band’s video to the title track to the album Pilots

You can find the Pilots album from Pale Hollow on Spotify

To check out the Pilots album from Pale Hollow, click on the album cover below:


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