Music, Print, Reviews February 6, 2020

Album Review: Satellite Pilot – Toad Tone and His Symphonic Swamp Creatures – Deluxe

by Laura Giagos

As far as local bands go, Loveland, Colorado-based Satellite Pilot can be a lot. Identifying as something like Dr. Dog meets Polyphonic Spree, Flaming Lips, and The Kinks, Satellite Pilot push all their weirdness to the front. Yet that weirdness feels as natural as sliding on an old pair of shoes. This is the case with their fourth full length album titled Toad Tone and His Symphonic Swamp Creatures – Deluxe: on the surface, it’s the psychedelic mess you might imagine it being, but underneath it is so much more. 

Toad Tone is a home-brewed symphonic romp through eighteen tracks, stumbling from song to song with a surprising grace and the right touch of nuance. And while some songs are stronger than others, each track has a head-turning musical twist that brings the listener back into the moment, proving it wasn’t just slapped together to fill space. This being said, tracks like “Here Is The Sun,” “Source Code,” “Pretend Cycle” and “Sheep Serenade,” are the glue that holds this pastiche together. 

Loveland’s Satellite Pilot bring the psych-rock weirdness via full-on ambition: The release show for Toad Tone and his Symphonic Swamp Creatures is a costumed Valentines day party with an illustrated children’s book release and burlesque show in a Pinball arcade.

This heap of an album is ambitious (too ambitious at times) but it has a life to it which so many local bands lose sight of during the creative process. It’s untamed, it’s the anti-polish of modern recording, and it taps into an unpretentiousness that often gets thrown out first thing in so many psychedelic bands. It grooves where it needs to and lets it freak fly right when it should, creating a volatile mix that’s just right to balance itself out. Above all else, Toad Tone and His Symphonic Swamp Creatures – Deluxe has heart and moxie.

Satellite Pilot is walking into 2020 on strong footing, with an old lesson snagged from Sgt. Pepper – life is too short for more of the same old thing. Get over yourself and put something weird out into the universe.

Satellite Pilot release Toad Tone And His Symphonic Swamp Creatures – Deluxe on February 14, at Pinball Jones Campus West in Fort Collins,,accompanied by a children’s book co-written by the band and illustrated by Bailey Corimer. The event is a costume party with Crooked Rugs playing too as well as a preview performance by BlueStocking Burlesque.