Like a punk-rock album without the rock, Distance From Zero are back with their fourth album; it’s melodic and soothing on the ears, simple and effective. The flourishing duo of SJ Collier and Donna-Marie Stevens have exuberated versatility with their release of ‘Pilot Error.’
You are looking for a post-punk era band that doesn’t feature atrocious singing and over the top guitar riffs, you say? Well Distance From Zero are the band for you. Asking to be the reviewer of any punk album is enough to send shivers down your spine, especially when your music taste is a whole lot more paradisiacal. However, saying that, it was enlivening to hear this October 2020 release. The band, rather regrettably, remains a duo, despite wishing to embark on live work with a hard-hitting drummer, who also thrives working with a guitarist that favours a big sound and a delay pedal. Certainly, those additions would be very much useful for future live sessions, but two seemed to be enough to produce an enjoyably listenable fourth album.
The album kicks off with ‘Don’t Wrong the Rights’ which, put simply, is a sing along song that will be enjoyed by the many when normality returns, and gigs get underway. The steady guitar riff promises to soothe rather than haunt and the only criticism it garners is that the vocals are somewhat passive. Now, it must be declared that punk isn’t exactly known to produce the best vocalists, but stronger vocals could do this band the world a good.
The good thing, however, is that the band are able to sound conversely different from song to song in an instrumental perspective. For example, the opener is a far cry from ‘Shame on You’ and its groovy cohesion of jingle jangles and progressive riff. The best compliment one could give Distance From Zero is that it is listenable. We don’t mean that in a patronising way, but we mean it is easy flowing.
‘Pilot Error’ is a good album, let’s not disguise that by any stretch. It may not cater for the die-hard punk rock fans, but it offers something that no other bands of their genre do, and that’s a melodic underpin. Only time will tell whether the addition of two musicians will lift the band to new levels, but the duo that remains intact is still good enough. ***
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