Twin Peaks Pop from the Skyline Pigeons
Sisters Roxanne and Caroline Teti, a.k.a. the Skyline Pigeons bill themselves as shoegaze and psychedelic pop, although their music is considerably darker and more compelling than those tags would suggest. Their new album House of Mysteries could do without the flat, Prozac’ed Lana Del Rey vocals, but the songwriting can be killer. Ostensibly inspired by the loss of their home in one of the California wildfires, many of the songs have a deliciously understated, lurid noir pop edge. The opening anthem, The Cycle blends noir 60s pop with biting, lo-fi distorted guitar and swirly organ. “All your secrets gonna turn to dust, when all is said and done it’s not gonna matter too much” – foreshadowing, maybe? Together could be a particularly dark Aimee Mann song, sinewy lead guitarlines against terse piano that starts out slow and brooding and then picks up with a defiant bounce.
The most gripping song here is Lucid, building a dissociative, surreal ambience as simple, staccato Rhodes piano and terse guitar grows from ominous art-pop to an explosive, anthemic intensity like the flames flickering around outside and then suddenly exploding into a firestorm. They follow that with the Lynchian psychedelic folk of Alright, the distantly longing, noir pop escape anthem Stardust Collector and its loaded outer-space imagery, and then Unrequited, a ballad that reaches for a creepily dreamy Julee Cruise vibe.
High goes for an anthemic rock feel, apprehensive slide guitar licks over a lush, clanging, roaring layers of chords, like something the Church might have demoed circa 1988. As Fire She Blows slowly climbs with a stark garage rock bassline, the creepy organ comes in, a bit of guitar feedback flickers and then builds to a hypnotic roar, this could be the Black Angels with a woman on the mic. “The earth is bursting” becomes “The earth is thirsty,” then the song subsides, only to rise again. The album ends with Take Me Back, smoldering and longing, equal parts Orbison retro pop and ornate art-rock. A couple of tracks here are throwaways, but that’s a small price to pay for all the good stuff. The Skyline Pigeons’ next scheduled show is August 3 at Bootleg Bar, 2220 Beverly Blvd. at Roselake in Los Angeles.