Anybody who is an Ohio native, particularly around central Ohio, has most likely heard of the phenomenon that is twenty | one | pilots at this point. Even as of now, a good amount of the country, not to mention the world, have heard of the band and what they and their music stand for. Since the band's start as a local Columbus act, the duo, Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun have risen from a unique local sound to a new voice of a generation, standing out as something that is both new and refreshing to the music scene, and a positive message to all of those who listen. Originally, Joseph, along with former bass player, Nick Thomas, and former drummer, Chris Salih, took the local Ohio music scene by storm with their debut self-titled album, "Twenty One Pilots", creating a diverse blend of pop, piano, rapping, singing, and electronica, creating a what would soon be called, "schizoid pop", that was a breath of fresh air and something unheard of in a strong metalcore central Ohio music scene. Eventually, Salih left and was replaced by Josh Dun, and not much longer, Thomas left the band, creating a duo, once again, a rare sight in a local scene. Not letting the loss of band members impact their music, Joseph and Dun released a strong sophomore album with the release of "Regional at Best", which helped them gain much more feedback from local fans. With the release of "Regional at Best" came a barrage of shows and concerts with the two normally headlining or playing very good slots on these concerts; among these concerts was Ichthus Festival, a CD release for "Regional at Best" at The Venue 42 in Lebanon, OH, a concert with Hawthorne Heights at the same music venue, numerous headlining shows, and most notably, selling out the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, OH as a local band which earned them a bidding war between record labels which ended with a record deal by Fueled By Ramen, which was announced at the band's second sold out hometown show at the LC Pavilion in Columbus, OH.
After the label announcement, the band went forth to begin work on their EP, "three songs", as well as their third full length album, "Vessel" which would include the entire EP. "Vessel" was to be a mix between old and new, with roughly half of the album being older songs from the "Twenty One Pilots" and "Regional at Best" days, to brand new material. Although the new material was what everybody wanted most, it was also very exciting to hear the redone versions of the old songs, to see what was going to change, if the band was gonna keep their original formula, and if the band could keep their fans while making new ones, which has proved to be very difficult for bands after being signed to a major label. Not surprising, however, twenty | one | pilots kept their fans very satisfied and stayed the same old duo that fans fell in love with and grew with during their local days, all while maturing and developing a new sound that would create a fan out of new listeners after just one song being played.
While "Vessel" isn't to be released until January 8th, Entertainment Weekly posted the new album to their website to stream, allowing anybody to freely listen and see for themselves what the hype is all about. Starting off with a familiar tune, "Ode to Sleep" from "Regional at Best", we hear a revamped intro with a much more intricate and eery electronic wave of noise that sets this dark mood only to be lightened by the catchy chorus and returned back to its original state. "Ode to Sleep" is as if Joseph is trapped in a prison rapping his way towards a light at the end of the tunnel, and it definitely shows at live concerts as the band gets the crowd jumping during the completely opposite chorus sections. "Ode to Sleep" is then followed by another familiar song, and also the most known, "Holding On To You". This song is the twenty | one | pilots anthem. It offers that rich rapping style of Joseph, the wonderful beat of Dun, some crazy piano tunes, the positive message that the band conveys in their music time and time again. This is the song that millions will hear, recognize, and sing along to for all of 2013. Among these songs, the band also revamps classics including, "House of Gold", "Car Radio", and "Guns for Hands" to name a few. When it comes to the new material, twenty | one | pilots doesn't stray too far from the path, as we hear the catchy upbeat tempo from "The Run and Go", the rapid fire rapping towards the end of "Fake You Out", and the slow, artistic piano playing of Joseph in "Truce".
With every change in music comes the question, "Will it still catch my attention? Will I still love the band? Are they selling out?". twenty | one | pilots, partnered with Fueled by Ramen, are proving that bands don't have to pertain to a certain demographic to make record sales, that the band can still be themselves and still make new fans. "Vessel" is that prime example, and only time will tell just how far this band will go. However, after hearing the new improvements, still seeing the ecstatic, energetic live performances, and seeing how humble and appreciative the band has still remained after being signed, the future is looking very bright for these individuals, and the question will be, "Who hasn't heard of these guys?".
If you would like to hear what the buzz is all about, be sure to check out the stream of the new album, here, on Entertainment Weekly.
For preorders for the new album, please visit here to purchase the new album.