With a kaleidoscope of touching emotions, sensual textures, and warm hauntingly enveloping atmospheres the debut album House of Mysteries from US band Skyline Pigeons is truly one of the most mesmeric releases heard in a long time. Bringing a blend of shoegaze rock psych-pop with flushes of folk, post-punk, and psychedelic-rock the release is an inescapable immersive wrap around the senses. Within the distinct unique weave of sound that is Skyline Pigeons the additional elements of country and garage rock all combining to create a sound which cuts across the decades bringing a vibrant yet dark breath to the release.
The band is made up of two sisters from Santa Barbara/Los Angeles, Roxanne and Caroline Teti. The duo crafted House of Mysteries with inspiration raging from not only their personal musical influences but emotionally from the experience of losing their home and possessions to the Santa Barbara wildfires and the process of starting again. The tracks within the release are part of an emotional journey for the girls translated perfectly for the listener to absorb and feel with each song exploring and challenging the scars and fears borne from the devastating event. With the band completed by Andrew Harrison, Ben Potter, and Orly Gal and the album recorded with and produced by Ryan Hadlock (Blonde Redhead, Ra Ra Riot, The Black Heart Procession, The Gossip) at Bear Creek Studio in Seattle, the album is a remarkable pop rock entry.
From the moment first song The Cycle weaves its melodic way around the ear there is a sense of something special emerging to send tingles through the spine. Once the beauty of the vocals and emotive Wurlitzer keys wrap themselves around the beckoning bass, firm beats and endearing guitar strokes, the track slowly envelops the senses and thoughts building to a plateau of emotive warmth and stirring energy tinged with a soulful country rock lilt.
Off of this impressive start the following Get Up raises the bar even higher. The anthemic badgering from the song is deeply infectious as the song confronts the wrong kind of personal acceptance with a stunning mix of Breeders and Belly like grace and melodic imagination. The song is glorious and brings a deep sigh of disappointment when it ends.
House of Mysteries is pleasingly eclectic throughout bringing diversity to fit the varied emotive thoughts and heartfelt issues dealt with lyrically. Songs like the reflective slightly haunting Together and the rougher textured pop enchantment that is Tennessee are as openly diverse and equally wondrous as the songs before them. Within the latter of the two the infectious pull is especially immense and unavoidable but to be honest every song no matter the heart and breath it expands from is as captivating as another.
The golden ballad whisper of Lucid finds the band in further hypnotic lush emotive fields, its balance and poise the strongest aural siren to find the ear and further evidence of the astounding songwriting and its realisation upon the album. As much as the sounds, lyrical inventiveness and the amazing voices of the girls, it is the seamless fit and thought brought to all aspects within the pulsating soundscapes which impresses as deeply. The alto and soprano ranges of Roxanne and Caroline belong within any myth spun by sailors dashed upon rocks, their beauty that full and far reaching but it is as much their organic mix and blend with the other instruments and skills which ignites their fullest majesty.
Tracks such as Alright and High bring more sultry irresistible splendour but the brightest sun on the album comes with Fire She Blues, a blistering piece of sixties psychedelic toned post punk ingenuity. The track is a primal trigger with continual insistent rhythms and fiery melodic imagination. As the song explores its path the energy rises and flares with scorched sonic and blues dripping explosions. Almost like a pop version of Blood Ceremony the band opens up every note and chord with a raw yet compulsive intensity to engineer the most inventive and impressive song on the album.
House of Mysteries is a masterpiece and the declaration that Skyline Pigeons and their unique talent will be bringing even greater rewards for years to come with what is real pop music.