Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pigeon Park Stings With Black Widow

Pigeon Park
When Vancouver-based Pigeon Park released their eponymous EP last year, diversity underpinned the emerging artist pick. The five-piece band prided itself on never really having a consistent set list, making flexibility an important part of their music and where they were headed.

You might never guess that from their new release. The 4-track EP, Black Widow, finds the band settled into a signature blues groove rock. It's a great sound for the Pigeon Park, centering squarely on their strengths. But that's not to say the band has given up on its sometimes soulful and funky sound.

Where they've matured is in developing their overarching style while still managing to weave their diversity into the arrangements. Think of it as the perfect middle ground for the five-year-old band. It helps define their music but gives them enough freedom to make their material feel spontaneous as individual styles emerge within their compositions.

This is the kind of recording that one hopes for from an emerging talent like Pigeon Park. They don't play a collection of solid songs anymore. They have a sound that is clearly becoming Pigeon Park.

Black Widow is a bluesy, sometimes soulful excursion.

The title track, Black Widow, is straight-up hum-along-if-you-want-to rock song about a dangerous seductress who bends men to her will before sucking them dry. And yet, the song itself isn't nearly as dark as the summation implies.

Pigeon Park prevents the track from becoming overtly as dark as the lyrics by infusing temptation into some well-placed guitar licks. Frontman Nick Weber (vocals) might conclude that "it's the last time" at the end of the song, but Kevin Okabe (guitar) and Logan Pacholok (guitar) clearly imply a longing for the next time. It's a warning. It's a dare. And it's held together with a perfect beat and bass line from Hunter Elliott (drums) and Artur Lepert (bass).

It's also not the only place where the band juxtaposes an adrenaline high with a dangerous even disastrous risk. Although the video casts Come Down Slow in a different light, with two teens chasing down a dangerous high, the original concept is drawn from the plight of a homeless girl.

To hear the band members tell it, the lyrics capture the alienation and desperation of life. Although the song doesn't necessarily cut new ground as a straightforward storytelling rocker, it's an extremely tight track and easily the most radio friendly of the lot. Where it wins is in how the band delivers it.

It's very clear that the band has a newfound confidence built on their long-standing camaraderie. It's one thing to lose yourself as a free-spirited rock band but another all together to trust your gut and the guts of your bandmates. It was always just a matter of time.

"We were all friends jamming since childhood," says Weber. "We all went to school together, discovered bands together and jammed together. Eventually, we just bridged that gap."

Forging out a new, streamlined sound isn't the only gap the band is trying to bridge. Money Beats Soul aims at connecting to the groundswell of young adults trapped between picking money or soul. Both soulful and aggressive, Weber peels back the warning as matter of fact. Money wins every time.

Money also wins with its guitar solo, even if there are some splendid solo notes inside the EP's closer, Feel The Rain. The last track starts out as a throwback rock crooner with some funk and psychedelia but ends as a robust, atmospheric howler after its layered build finally reaches a crescendo. Sure, there is a touch of theatrics in the final track but it's all for the right reasons.

Black Widow By Pigeon Park Stings 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

Every time this band puts something out, they turn everything inside out to make the most passionate blues groove rock possible. With Black Widow, Pigeon Park had never sounded better or more promising. The EP has fewer frills but more thrills as an accessible EP saddled with the right amount of blues, soul and funk finesse. This is the collection that locks them in as a band to watch.

You can find the Black Widow EP by Pigeon Park on Amazon or download it from iTunes. The band is hosting an EP release party at the Venue in Vancouver, British Columbia, tonight (Aug. 8) with support from other local bands like Whoa! She's A Babe, The Slovos, and No Century. For future tour dates, visit Pigeon Park on Facebook or give the EP a spin on Bandcamp.
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