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Lone Pigeon - Schoozzzmmii

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Artist: Lone Pigeon

Album: Schoozzzmmii

Label: Whizzkidzz

Review date: Mar. 30, 2004

Everything about the Lone Pigeon makes a kind of oblique sense. He's one of those out-of-time pop-artisan characters that you want to love. He was sensible enough to leave The Beta Band before they became a relatively 'big name,’ an almost inverse situation to 'I almost was a Beatle' misery (you'd be glad to have saved yourself the ignominy). The Pigeon's history hints at hide-outs in rural England, psychedelic-record-collection as mentor, and pop fed through 4-track systems. He's also one of the many arms of the Fence Collective, and that connection is particularly alluring, given the warmth of Fence's communitarian demeanor and their occasional ability to unearth the diamond in the rough, like King Creosote or UNPOC.

Schoozzzmmii collects together tracks recorded before Gordon Anderson made his first Lone Pigeon album, Concubine Rice – selections of home recordings purposely left on a dusty, old reel and off the debut. So, the question is: Why has he dug out these masters? If the answer is historical exposition, then it’s both slightly presumptuous (perhaps even cheeky), and highly unnecessary. Because a large portion of Schoozzzmmii sounds like what it is – recordings that should be, at best, traded in illicit fashion between Lone Pigeon fanatics on some bedraggled Yahoo Group out there.

Anderson is not untalented, and his better songs carry the slightly nearthly manner of Marc Bolan's early Tyrannosaurus Rex music. But Anderson doesn’t have a Steve Peregrine Took to bounce ideas off of, and that self-reliance leads him down too many cul-de-sacs. One major problem is the Lone Pigeon’s tone of voice: earnest, slightly keening, with no core or crag, no edge or clamor. Combined with melodic and lyrical art that often borders on the perfunctory, Anderson is left flailing. He’s much better at etching in details, adding psychedelic flourishes. Perhaps that’s where Anderson’s true talent lays, as an impeccable sideman, a studio auteur.

On Friday night just past, I suffered the misfortune of witnessing the video for the Beta Band’s new single, "Assessment," which sounded like low-rent U2. Maybe they need Gordon Anderson back in tow as their Brian Eno.

By Jon Dale

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Concubine Rice

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