Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Deliver Adventurous Brand Of Funk On ‘Pizazz’ [ALBUM REVIEW]

Words by Randy Harris

The long-awaited Pigeons Playing Ping Pong album is finally here! Those of us in The Flock (as the band’s fans call themselves) have been waiting all year for this one. Pigeons have made huge strides this year, both on stage and in the studio, including the release of their first live album, The Great Outdoors Jam, earlier this year. As The Flock has continued to provide devoted support, the band has sought to return their undying love to the fans. Pizazz is their fourth full-length studio album, and The Flock has welcomed the record with open arms.

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The Baltimore-based funk quartet started off the album strong with a few fan favorites, including “Fun In Funk,” “Somethin’ For Ya,” “Ocean Flows” and “The Liquid.” As a longtime fan of the band, it is nice to see these tunes given a proper studio treatment. They nailed all four of them, bringing back memories of the thumping bass, soaring vocals, big room drums, beautiful guitar solos and deep jams that we all know and love. “The Liquid” included some masterful horn work from Mario D’Ambrosio and Danny Davis that truly makes the tune stand out. “Porcupine” follows next, turning deep and dark and culminating in a driving guitar solo from lead guitarist Jeremy Schon. “Henrietta” segues into the second half of the album, showing lead singer Scrambled Greg Ormont in fine form and emitting a laid back island vibe.

Now we’re back in a darker mood with “Too Long.” As Greg growls with emotion, drummer Alex “Gator” Petropulos paves the way with driving drumming. “Doc” brings back the horns section, as bassist Ben Carrey holds down the funky beat with style. One more screaming, bluesy guitar solo from Jeremy leads into a powerful final verse. Back to the Caribbean we go with “Fox and Toad” before closing out the record with a couple more fan favorites. “Offshoot” is a pure instrumental tune characterized by deep, rolling bass, heavy four-to-the-floor drumming and harmonic dual guitar. Simply put, it is a full on rager. Finally, the ecstatic, mesmerizing intro of “Poseidon” seems to seep into the soul. The bouncy verse kicks in and the band leads us on one last adventure to close out the album.

Overall, Pizazz turned out nothing less than what we have come to expect from the fearless Pigeons. While the band’s stage presence and wacky antics hold firm as their strong point, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong continues to progress in the studio with every new release.

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Pigeons Playing Ping Pong will be truckin’ on for the remainder of the year, including a hometown show in Baltimore over Thanksgiving weekend and a New Year’s run featuring two nights in Cleveland, OH and NYE in Covington, KY. Visit the band’s official website here to get your tickets for their remaining fall tour dates.

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