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The Big Takeover Issue #93
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The Pigeons - Bird Brain Gang (Freaksville)

13 May 2023

It isn’t often that music stops me in my tracks. When you are in the music scribbling game, you think you have heard it all. Well, The Pigeons are here to prove me wrong and to remind us that there are still new places for music to explore.

After an intro that sounds like it was lifted from a Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band musical skit, things don’t quite settle down but they certainly get interesting. To call “Sideways Stare” experimental is an understatement, ebbing and flowing between abrasive and odd electronica and strange spoken word narratives all welded onto a dance groove. I don’t know what this is about, but it is like little I have heard before.

And so the album goes on, wandering between pigeon fixations and musical experimentation, strange sonic juxtapositions that feel like they shouldn’t be in the same song but how somehow work, and no small amount of avant-gardening!

But what keeps everything on track is the sheer groove of the songs, the brilliantly infectious back beats that cut through the weirdness and demand that you dance. So that when songs such as “Pigeon Rock” or “Pecking At The Pavement” make you wonder if they have taken the pigeon-related joke a bit too far, you find that you are at least swaying along, tapping your foot or strutting about like a…pigeon…damn it!

At its most accessible, it is full of irresistible James Brown -esque dance grooves; at its most eclectic and out there, it tumbles into the realms of 70’s krautrock. For the most part, it ricochets between the two.

It takes a while to get your head around what is happening here, but it certainly differs from what you have heard before, so if nothing else, it adds new and strange dimensions to the musical landscape. And, as I have found, as I’ve been playing record, the more I listen to the music, the more it makes sense to me. I think I’m starting to understand what is going on here. And I’m a bit worried about that.


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