Pigeons Playing Ping Pong (2 sets)
Change grants clarity. As our circumstances shift, we recognize and realize what truly matters and appreciate it a little bit more. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong translates the joy of such realizations into the buoyant psychedelic funk odyssey of their sixth independent full-length album, the aptly titled Perspective. The Maryland quartet—Greg Ormont [vocals, guitar], Jeremy Schon [guitar, vocals], Ben [bass, vocals], and Alex “Gator” Petropulos [drums, vocals]—delivers a musically thrilling and emotionally endearing body of work propelled by sonic fireworks and chantable hooks. After piling up millions of streams and selling out countless shows, the musicians project their vision widescreen across the most expansive vista yet.
“When touring shut down in 2020, we gained immense perspective,” admits Greg. “The album title speaks to the perspective of the pandemic as well as our growth over the years. During this turbulent time, everyone in the world has been forced to look in the mirror and ask what’s truly important. If there’s anything we’ve all gained from this, it’s perspective, and a recurring theme from our band is to not waste time. Now more than ever, we recognize that you only get one life, so you might as well live it to the fullest and lift people up in the process.”
By doing so, the band has morphed into a cult-like phenomenon beloved by their rabid and ever-expanding fanbase, affectionately known as “The Flock.” Lighting up hallowed venues, they’ve ignited Red Rocks Amphitheatre, played halftime during a New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden, and packed theaters and arenas across the country, capturing the minds, hearts, and imaginations of audiences in the process. Not to mention, they’ve annually headlined their self-produced music and camping festival Domefest—now in its eleventh iteration. Beyond praise from Rolling Stone, Glide, Relix, Jambase and more, they delivered a standout performance on Adult Swim’s FishCenter Live and stole the show at countless music festivals including Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Jam Cruise, and many others.
Once the world slipped into quarantine, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong dove headfirst into their next creative chapter.
“Our first thought was, ‘Even though we can’t play live, we have to keep the music alive, even if just for our own sanity’,” Greg goes on. “Music is our lifeforce and we have to keep the fire burning. So instead of watching the world go by, we quickly decided to pour all of our creative energy into the studio setting and rejoice in the healing power of music.”
Working safely out of Wright Way Studios in their hometown of Baltimore, the band brought Perspective to life. Teeming with vibrancy, the first single “Elephante” struts along on a thick bass line wrapped in swaggering riffs punctuated by the boisterous and bold horn section of energetic funk band Here Come The Mummies. It all culminates on a sky-splitting solo by lead guitarist Jeremy Schon.
“As soon as I heard the Elephante demo, I was overwhelmed with excitement and just let it rip vocally,” smiles Greg. “Musically, it knocks you off your chair. Lyrically, it’s about living life to the fullest. There’s no time to waste, you have to let your freak flag fly and embrace your true self. It’s about being unapologetically you, which for me is wild, unashamed and energetic.”
Propelled by percussion from Jason Hann of The String Cheese Incident, the funkified guitar of “Move Like That” underscores a moment of dance floor seduction, on a natural high, urging you to seize the day.
“It’s about two people seeing each other from across the room and catching fire” he elaborates. “The seduction grabs hold and never lets go. There’s nothing left to do but let the sparks fly.”
Then, there’s “Sir Real.” Originally written live on stage in a moment of divine improvisation where the song writes itself, the track’s flowing groove catapults into a psychedelic crescendo energized by artful six-string transmissions.
“Life’s about going with the flow, giving in to the moment, and releasing your inhibitions, even if just for one night,” he reveals. “When you let go, sure you’re vulnerable, but if you surround yourself with the right people, they’ll pick you up when you have fallen down and you just might achieve something you couldn’t have if you didn’t take the leap. So in that sense, the song’s about taking chances and having the right community to back you up, which we see reflected in The Flock at every show.”
Elsewhere, Greg picks up the mic and drops a “chill rap” on “Lost In Line,” while strings add a newfound texture to the feel-good anthem “Su Casa.” Meanwhile, Zach Gill of Animal Liberation Orchestra breathes new life into the decade-old album closer “Indiglo” with lustrous keys.
“Since the entire music industry had shut down, we were granted a rare opportunity to collaborate with some seriously awesome musicians who would’ve otherwise been busy touring” adds Greg. “That added a new dimension to this album, it’s really all over the map. There are in-your-face funk songs, chill groovy tracks, driving instrumentals, all spanning different phases of our band’s history, but they really came together in one cohesive record. I hope this album is reminiscent of the peaks and valleys of our live shows.”
Which there will be many more of on the horizon…
On stage and on tape, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong ultimately provides a feeling we could all use right now.
“We hope you listen to Perspective and are reminded that life is fleeting yet amazing,” he leaves off. “There’s no time like the present, so let’s make the absolute most of it. Remember the good times, be excited about the future, but most of all, dance your heart out every step of the way.”