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Liasons Review

by Ned Raggett

On their 2010 album, Pigeons seem simultaneously dedicated to whatever the relaxed "cassette or not?" aesthetic of the time is -- there's the warm, gentle wash on Liasons that revels in the sense of reverb and room ambience -- and tinges of an earlier, decidedly French approach to calm pop. It's not merely evident in the cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Laisse Tomber Les Filles," which maintains the original's pep in its own way with home-recorded arrangements, but also in the way that opening song "Smoke" sounds almost exactly like something from Antena's debut release Camino del Sol, an album that itself embodied that early-'80s proto-twee pop that was so of the moment, as it looked backward. The sense of cascading echoes from the past dominates the short Liasons, which recombines elements to create its own distinct space. Wednesday Knudsen's easy, sweetly dreamy, and softly drugged-out singing could just as easily be an acid sunshine pop swirl as anything else, with her performance on the concluding "Invitations" being the most "out there" moment, and a perfect note to end on. Meanwhile, the blend of acoustic and electric guitars throughout is further, if softly, spiked by elements such as the echoed feedback that sounds like chirps and birdcalls on "Race," and the soft saxophone tinges on "No Other Way," the album's longest and most languorous song. While the percussion is generally understated throughout, something like the bigger punch of "Lil Deb's Debris" makes sense, and the less heavy but still noticeable chug on "Pure" adds some understated heft.

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