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Pidgeon
From Gutter With Love
Absolutely Kosher Records
www.pidgeonsf.com


Hey Paul, Hey Paul, Hey Paul, -you need to get this album. (Yeah Bishop, I mean you.)

Better than The Pixies?

Ooh, I dunno 'bout that. These guys (and gal Val) are close though. This is some serious hardcore/indie/punk rock (Or something. The Pixies were always an "or something" anyway and Pidgeon may be more so), and it feels like it was actually made in the decade of the wellspring from which it draws; it rails against the social ills of old, some of which are a bit dated and others timeless. I'm not entirely certain of what they're angry at, but usually I'd rather not know. Angst-driven rage is musically more effective when the listener simply has to take it without being able to first decipher and then rationalize, categorize, and then summarily dismiss it. You WILL be prisoner to their volcanic venting, and there's precious little you can do about it.

I can hear the similarities or influences from a few other bands (besides the Pixies) as well, the harmonizing of Veruca Salt, the melodies and angelic lilt of The Breeders, the wretched growl of Serj Tankian from System Of A Down (and some of his politics perhaps -but don't do it! Don't become an armchair activist!) courtesy of lead howler, Micah Foley. And, for awhile there, I'm sorry to admit that I thought he was the reincarnation of Lori Barbero of Babes 'n Toyland, but then I realized that it was only Lori's career that was dead.

Instrumentally, this album is good but not spectacular. Normally, that wouldn't be much of a compliment, but in this case it is in the work's best interest. The real showcase of this band is the complementary vocals of Val Iwamasa and Micah Foley. They create an effect that IMHO, surpasses that of Black and Deal by virtue of the fact that Frank Black and Kim Deal typically sang separately in Pixies tracks. Val and Micah are more like Louise Post and Nina Gordon, in that they occasionally harmonize and layer their vocals in ways that seem to create a multitude of voices.

When I said Pidgeon were instrumentally unspectacular, that was in no way an indictment of their music writing abilities because their ability to plan out not only the pacing, melody, and harmony of a singular song, but the pacing melody and harmony of an entire album is nothing short of amazing, especially for the sort of music where one expects the "louder is better" mentality. In particular, Pidgeon don't allow their instrumentals to vie for top billing with their vocals, a restraint not often found with bands of this ilk. The bass lines are driving and simple, guitar work is never out of step with the overall tone of the song, percussion accentuates without drowning out everything else. The vocals lead, but don't hog all the glory.

Imagine that, a band where everyone knows their place.

Honestly, I thought music like this had gone the way of the dodo, and surely the world diminished in its absence. From Gutter With Love has a raw and unpolished vitality of youth that can't be fabricated by any major studio. It feels alive, significant, and most important: totally genuine. It turns my stomach every time I have to pop in a CD that tastes like the musical equivalent of artificial flavors and coloring, so suffice to say, this will enjoy many a spin in my carousel.


-JD

Track Listing:
1. The Second One
2. Strelnikov
3. Six Minutes in the Sun
4. Powerful
5. Down
6. Disco
7. Fallout
8. Ain't nothing can't
9. Fiona
10. Sty
11. Nationalism Moves West
12. Backwards Hell
13. Me to Play
14. War Pickle
15. Last Supper
16. Goner


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