Pigeon Wigs are a Cardiff based alt-rock band who release their album ‘Rock By Numbers’ this month which lead singer Harry Franklin-Williams has shared is “a reference to paint-by-numbers kits, and the title tells you a little about the mini-album. As you go track-to-track you’re getting a Pigeon Wigs view on some of our favourite artists, genres and people. It’s a love letter to all that music has done for us, full of fuzz and boundless energy.” This release was created from a writing partnership between Harry Franklin-Williams and Louis Jugessur and came to life when the pair “corralled some of Cardiff’s finest to record a new project” with the main themes are dysfunctional relationships, loss and finding a light at the end of the tunnel.

The album kicks off with `Near The Knuckle` which has a bluesy retro vibe and appears to be about the potential of a relationship that if consumed or indeed consummated may well prove to be a rather risqué affair. A brass blast and a tinkling piano lead us into `Death of a King` which becomes a mesmerisingly soulful outing with a pleasing brief horn solo towards the latter part before guiding us out. 

`Heavy Low` is a wonderfully introspective slow burn that rolls along and really draws you in as it takes you on its thoughtful journey with a timeout midway for an instrumental reflection before resuming and closing out with a more assertive vocal oration. I read that `Radiation Blues` is a play-by-play of the Chernobyl disaster. To me it had that George Thorogood and the Destroyers blues rock riff and was pleasingly hook laden throughout.  

`Hold Up! ` is about the sometimes long and dreary ways of normal life until someone special comes along and makes you want to go away on an adventure, live life as it should be and fall in love. It begins slowly before it picks up pace as it evolves and becomes a thoughtful musing ala The Stones or The Black Crowes. We have a shook tambourine, organ swirls and a guitar solos over a pounding drum beat that gives this number the bands own stamp. There`s understated guitar chords and harmonica hues on the trippy folky bluesy `War-Torn Warriors` which was marvellously out there.

`Come Of Age` is a bluesy psych-rock trip and had a slight Primal Scream vibe but veers off near the midway point with an anomalous piano organ brass soundscape before resuming it`s previous path. An oddly compelling listen. I thought `Iron Dynamite` had that sixties atmospheric dynamism and reminded me of artists such as Love and Donovan.

`Going Nowhere` races along and is an almost country tinged rock out with a lowkey scorching guitar solo thrown in for good measure. It does however take a breather a couple of times before quietly fading out. A violin and superbly plucked guitar riff lead us into and through `You Play Me` a folk shaded ballad like submission that was a sheer delight.

‘The album closes with `Epilogue 6` which had a simple but effective Beatles-like ambience that Lennon and McCartney were so adept at creating when they wrote together

Rock By Numbers’ is pitched as a mini album so god knows how long an actual album would run to. It encompasses some really diverse and varied styles and was for me wonderfully unique and at times quirky.

This is a cracker of an album and i`m sure Pigeon Wigs would go down a storm at a festival.

Rating 9 /10

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