The Bower is psych-folk group Pigeons' first LP since moving from The Bronx to the Hudson Valley in upstate New York and revamping their lineup. Their previous LP, 2011's They Sweetheartstammers, featured a fuller roster than previous recordings (many of which just featured core members Wednesday Knudsen and Clark Griffin along with a drum machine), and was a heavier, more psychedelic affair. The Bower was recorded in 2014 with new drummer Rob Smith (of Rhyton), and was mixed by No-Neck Blues Band's Jason Meagher. The album is a bold step up from their older releases, with much tighter musicianship and clearer hooks, even as the majority of the album's seven songs stretch past the five-minute mark (opener "Foxglove" is over seven-minutes long, and closer "Awkward Sign" is nearly ten). Knudsen's voice is impressive, and nearly resembles Broadcast's Trish Keenan on this album, particularly on "Underneath the Maple Tree" and "Two Years on Land." "Foxglove" has shades of Thai or Cambodian psych-pop, and mega-dreamy "Summer for Mary Ann" sounds like a folkier version of Slowdive or Galaxie 500. The album is comparable to Weyes Blood's evolution from a hissy drone project to the accomplished indie-folk songwriting of 2014 album The Innocents, although Pigeons seem to retain more of their experimental tendencies here. The Bower is so much more assured and confident than Pigeons' past work, and it's not hard to see it as an exciting reinvention of the band.
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AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson