Pigeon / Yagana / Soundway – By Cal Gibson

Super review by Cal Gibson, of The Secret Soul Society and Scruffy Soul Recordings.

Four fresh cuts from a Soundway supergroup featuring West African percussionist / vocalist Falle Nioke, backed up a quartet of highly experienced musicians – people who’ve played with everyone from Michael Kiwanuka to Cleo Sol and Sault. The end result being a series of super-tight cultural collisions tailor-made for discerning dancefloors. Yagana – ‘It’s Been A While’ – kicks things off: sleek, modernistic manouevres with a hint of classic Faze Action on the side. Nioke singing in three different languages – Susu, Wolof and Malinke – as he details the plight of the dispossessed, those forced to wander far and wide, the call of the homeland a never-forgotten whisper in the ear. The yearning, burning grooves underlying the wistfulness: synths soloing, cosmic adventuring. It`s a certifiable banger.

There`s no drop off in quality for the rest of the E.P. as War (Jam) mines similar deep disco territory: guitar slashes draped across deep bass boogie, Nioke running down an anti-war diatribe in Susu. Rolling percussion, and wobbly synth lines, dominating another late night deep funk throwdown for the global underground. 

Nothing Grows drops the tempo: Nioke switching to English to declaim: ‘I will haunt you…’ over Josh Ludlow’s anchoring bass line and Tom Dream’s scalding guitar licks: a loose-limbed joint for the afterhours.

It’s You rounds things off with a darker dive into punk-funk: think Killing Joke meets ZE Records downtown. Jagged edges, and anger as an energy – Lydon would surely love it. All four cuts were recorded in just one weekend – meaning there’s a freshness here, a delight in the physical act of music-making, a call to arms. Pigeon mean business: I’m guessing they’d be absolutely killer live.

Pigeon`s Yagana E.P. is released by Soundway on November 19th.

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