This is a weekly series in which someone writes about a band they feel didn’t quite receive the credit they deserved. Usually done by a guest author, this week’s edition is written by myself.
With most bands that you fall in love with, it’s difficult to pick exactly when you first became enamored with them. In my late teens, I was obsessed with The Libertines, and after that it was The Smiths – the typical route into listening to music with guitars, thinking that you’re alternative and spending way too much money on CDs. I can half remember the first time I heard about ¡FORWARD, RUSSIA!. Murmurings of a band from Leeds who named their songs in numbers and wore some kind of uniform and made energetic, math-pop infused noise. It was Twelve that won me over, but even then it was more of a slow descent rather than falling head over heels.
After a year or so of attending their every gig in the Manchester region, buying their vinyl and bizarrely trying to find out the MSN addresses of all the band members, it was fair to say that I’d been hooked. So when it was announced that Steve Lamacq was to air an hour long documentary on them, I had to listen. To an outsider it was probably mildly interesting, a peek at what it’s like to be in a band that’s hyped but still making absolutely fuck all money – but for me it was amazing. As it finished (and I searched for a copy to download and re-listen to on my mp3 player), I left the radio on. Lamacq said a few words about how much he loved the band, how inspired he was by them and such, before quickly returning back to playing songs, first up being a pop group from Sweden – and it was at that point I fell in love with Lucky Lucky Pigeons.
The premise of their music was simple from the opening bars of the song – sugar sweet electro pop, made by three girls who just wanted to have fun. They spit out their own name at the start of ‘Who Smells Marshmallows?’ with wonderful abandon, and the song rolls on in a similar way, weaving together their nonsensical lyrics with a thumping back beat and stupidly catchy casio riff. Big, stupid choruses, straight to the point melodies underpinned by the odd sense that you were experiencing something from another planet – these were the things that made every Lucky Lucky Pigeons track exciting, unique and inspiring.
Being young and hearing them on the radio, I somehow expected that, inevitably, they’d be touring at some point, giving me a chance to see them in the flesh and do that stupid jumping-into-people thing that was my default position at any gig. Days came and went, a few new tracks popped up on the myspace player – all brilliant, obviously – coupled with the occasional new ‘promo’ shot – usually something self-shot or amateurishly photoshopped. An EP was announced and released with little fanfare. Nothing seemed to happen.
And then they split up.
I’d been fervent, insistent upon my friends listening to them, hopefuly that sometime, inevitably, someone in some kind of position of power would pick up on them, turn them into the stars that they deserved to be. But it feels like nobody cared at all, even in their native land – a quick youtube search shows a video taken at a festival in which two people actively chat in front of their set. It’s since been deleted, almost certainly out of shame.
¡FORWARD, RUSSIA! split up around a similar time. My teenage years were coming to an end. But no matter what, I’ll always have Who Smells Marshmallows?, it’s bombastic, audacious attempts at being anthemic, as if any song that opens with the line ‘Lucky Lucky Pigeons, Sometimes he’s a gun’ could ever be.
Lucky lucky Pigeons – Who Smells Marshmallows?
The Pigeon Post is a blog.