The main beef with faith-based music (besides the obvious conflict of beliefs) is the ever-so-common cheesy, worship-y sound that ends up being created by that type of band. However, there are a few groups that have figured out the ways of the stream and are able to have the best of both worlds, including Relient K, The Wedding, and House of Heroes – all of which have been produced by Mark Townsend, who also produced Pioneer‘s new self-titled album.
While on first listen Pioneer sounds like a “normal” pop rock band, they definitely favor a lot of sounds similar to the aforementioned bands. The album’s third track “Treason” is one of the closest in similarity to Relient K – everything from the opening guitar to the closing drum beat and the vocal melodies in between. This is not to say that everything about this band is unoriginal, because they are also able to maintain their own signature sound that you pick up on as you listen through the album; it’s a sound that alternates between a couple of different but close-knit genres.
One of those genres, alternative- that vast umbrella that the entire album can fall under- is most specifically exhibited in “Reaching,” an inspirational song about picking yourself up after failing and reaching (hence the title) to be something more. The track fades in through the transition of the previous instrumental song entitled “Mantua,” presumably named after the Italian city known for being the country’s music hub. There are a handful of songs that could be classified as pop-punk as well, such as “Long Way Home,” “Better Days” and “Whatever It Takes.” These three songs all include an upbeat melody that could be compared to bands like Go Radio and Paramore (you’ll understand when you hear it).
None of the songs are void of a hook, whether it’s a catchy melody, guitar riff, drum beat, or effect. The album is also a good length of ten songs, all but one staying in the three-minute zone. Pioneer pushed themselves in a challenging direction as musicians, but it was a successful push, because their self-titled album is worth the listen and will have at least one part that gets stuck in your head (for me it was “Whatever It Takes”). The track list is well planned too, beginning with an acoustic track entitled “Clarity” and building in energy to the final track “Catharsis.” All in all, the album is very well done both musically and lyrically; they did a good job overcoming the obstacle of corniness and created music that anyone can enjoy listening to, whether for the music, the lyrics, or both.