“If you’re feeling overflowing, Throw your hands up to the sky;
If your minds exploding, Grab yourself a seat – it’s time to ride.” – Pigeons Playing Ping Pong
The jam band genre is thriving with the help of a new generation of talented and ambitious acts like Pigeons Playing Ping Pong. Their newest release, the 13-track Psychology, demonstrates the band’s versatile ability to hone in on and evoke a particular stimulating mood.
In today’s zeitgeist, the jam genre is an umbrella that contains many acts that are actually rooted more in funk, bluegrass and electronica but the next generation currently offers little in respect to straight shredding in the tradition of Phish and The Grateful Dead. Pigeons present themselves as a straight up jam band that melts faces and pulls no punches in an old school manner yet remains fresh to the ear.
Like their initial 2010 EP, there is a catchy tune that rises above the rest on the new release. On the first offering it was “Landing” and here is it “F.U.”, a meteoric anthem about funk with an alluring hook. The song inherently doesn’t match the punchy energy of the live performance, but effectively adds depth of layered sound with the inclusion of brass by The Hornitz. The song showcases the slick and smooth delivery of Greg Ormont, complete with his patented quirky vocal inflections at the end of a line of lyric.
As with any renowned jamband the overall successful effort is buoyed by the ever-present master finger work on the guitar. Despite his uber-talent, Jeremy Schon is a relative unknown virtuoso on the axe and this album will only add to his growing lore as an intense strummer adept at delivering intricate melodies and masterful noodling fills worthy of respect equaling the most prolific in the genre. The album is further fueled by the bombastic psychedelic bass thumping by Ben Carrey and the nuanced-hitting by Dan Schwartz from behind the kit. Pigeons are clearly students of theory who experiment with varied chord structures and assorted time signatures.
Thelist of highlights on the high-energy album includes the long-time fan favorite, “Julia”, a delightfully up-tempo and hopeful ditty reminiscing about a hopeful love affair. The spacy trippy repetitions of “Schwanthem” harken back to Lotus as the Phish-influenced “Melting Lights” strikes a chord. The funky-laden dance groove of “Time to Ride” with Ormont’s steady rapping makes an impression while the change of mood and emotion within the subtle yet strong, “Moonwalk” is a refreshing change of pace that builds momentum within an extended jam that is reminiscent of the “Theme from S.W.A.T.” and showcases the group’s professionalism and contagious energy. The fun calypso groove called “Horizon” is an exemplary song to put on for a hot beach day. Bassist Carrey shared, “Upfunk was the first song we had completed in studio, and is the last song on the album, so it’s pretty cool to hear all this work we’ve put in over so much time culminating in something special”
With such an effort, the band’s first full album complete with fine production value, that satiates even the most ardent jam band fan, Pigeons are on the right track to sharing their unique message, euphorically bringing the flock together to share love and music for years to come.
Check out the 6/18/14 leaked advance single “F.U.” below