If you came up with a name as good as Pigeon Laundry for your musical duo, you wouldn't bother thinking up another one for your album title would you? So of course they didn't. Pigeon Laundry are Australian improvisers Shenzo Gregorio (FourPlay) and Julian Curwin (The Tango Saloon). Here they utilize ukuleles and de-tuned guitars as well as pretty much anything else they could lay their hands on (including a leaf blower). No pigeons, but possibly a washing machine.
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It seems a ‘Pigeon Laundry’ is not Richard Branson’s latest enterprise, but an Aussie improv duo with their debut self-titled CD. Violinist Shenzo Gregorio may be known to some from his work with FourPlay, and Julian Curwin takes some time out from The Tango Saloon. They both (largely) eschew their usual instrumentation to play everything else... including the kitchen sink, apparently.
They begin with ‘Doink’, a funk groove laid down by detuned lap steel and toy ukulele with, of all things, a rattling cutlery drawer forming the rhythm. They claim it’s a tambourine… yeah, right. What a mad way to begin an album anyway. Next is ‘Cup of Tea’, a lovely piece of Brazilian saudade; guitars, violin and viola in haunting harmony. They delight in pulling the rug from under our feet. So, we have weirdly-tuned tango on ‘Blue-footed Booby’ (nice title, that’s one of my favourite birds); bashed water-pipes, sink and bluesy electric guitar on ‘Ladybugs’, and hillbilly fiddle -- sorry, violin -- and banjo on the straight-up bluegrass jam ‘On the Farm’.
The violin and ukulele return for the rather lovely and fun tune ‘Campfire Tales’. The sink adds depth (sorry) to the reverby ‘leccy guitar on ‘Bones’ and there’s that delicious Brazilian ukulele again. On ‘Blow’ we get to hear how a leaf blower sounds next to guitars and violin -- finally! Metal flamenco, anyone? Then we’re suddenly whisked away to ‘Mexico’ before an organ of doom brings us to ‘Vanishing Point’ and the final reveal that it’s all a ‘Means to an End’. The end, we can deduce, is simply to make charming music from a bundle of sources. The record, for one so largely improvised, is a joy. Not just for the birds.
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