Israel Nebeker and Ryan Dobrowski know something about getting back to basics. Before they put together their brilliant debut full-length, 3 Rounds and a Sound, the two men who make up Portland-based Blind Pilot conducted a strictly human-powered tour of their home coast. The same austere spirit that had the two young musicians pedaling and sweating from gig to gig informs the bittersweet acoustic indie pop of 3 Sounds. The record's eleven tracks are imbued with simplicity and sincerity that is arresting, immediate and effective. Most songs are realized with just Dobrowski's delicate drumming and Nebeker's guitar and voice, and this stripped-down approach draws attention to every stitch, wrinkle and blemish. Fortunately, the songwriting — insightful, honest and sweetly melodic — thrives under scrutiny, richly rewarding an attentive listener.
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