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.
1. The Second One
3. Six Minutes in the Sun
8. Ain't nothing can't
11. Nationalism Moves West
12. Backwards Hell
13. Me to Play
14. War Pickle
15. Last Supper
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