I became concerned upon initial listenings that The Bower, the new record by Austerlitz, NY group Pigeons, might cause a flare-up of the dread “NRBQ Syndrome” (a.k.a. “GBVitis”), a horrible disease contracted exclusively by rock critics. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, the piling of superlatives upon a band NOT because of any unusual things theyare doing, but instead because the critic is hearing them as a reverent amalgam of all their favorite music released prior (Wire is always among that favorite music, 100% guaranteed). It’s a tragic illness.
Pigeons has everything necessary to cause such a flare-up (deft and noodly prog/psych guitars, post-punk rawness, an almost Roches-like vocal inflection), but the way they combine their myriad elements is entirely too idiosyncratic to qualify as slavish devotion to any of their myriad precedents. In other words: if they get heralded heavily, it’s not ONLY because most critics are dorks, but because the music actually rules.
Case in point: the track “Not a Party,” which could be reasonably compared to everything from later Incredible String Band to Vince Guraldi to fellow ex-Seattleites Mega Bog, but it oozes and tumbles with such a baffling grace that you might as well just let it be Pigeons. Stop relating it to your record collection, start relating it to your summer road trip plans. The Bower is being relesed by the recently unstoppable MIE Music label this month and you can PRE ORDER HERE.