You walk into a room, perhaps a DIY-esque concert venue in the student center of your favorite state college. In it, there is a giant inflatable snowman, about two-dozen students your own age, and a young man donned in a multi-colored garb, putting the finishing touches on God-knows-what this could be. Suddenly, the music kicks in – a flurry of danceable beats, pummeling synths, and instant earworm melodies. You’re dancing, singing along to songs you’re just hearing for the first time. The snowman has strobe lights in it that drop at just the right moment. At one point, you’re handed a maraca wrapped in Christmas lights, and guess what? The whole thing ends in a giant group hug under a parachute.
Congratulations, you’ve just been to your first Terror Pigeon show.
Nashville’s Terror Pigeon is the musical lifeblood of Neil Fridd, who has made a name for creating unique, playful live shows that your friends will have a hard time fully understanding – until, of course, you bring them to the next one. The opening paragraph is my actual first experience at a Terror Pigeon show, taking place my freshman year of college (Go Panthers!). I began the night with no intention of seeing a show, essentially walking around campus, killing time before my nightly quesadilla from Zona Mexicana (RIP). My evening ended singing along in a room of sweaty strangers, calling my girlfriend right after to tell her about it – like a kid calling his parents from summer camp.
I’ve seen Terror Pigeon twice since that night, each show an inclusive party packed to the brim with big, shouty sing-alongs that leave the audience with a goofy smile and a new sense of optimism. The real kick to Terror Pigeon, though, is that the fun doesn’t just stand with their live show.
Their latest full-length, We Will Never Run Out Of Love, manages to capture an endless spectrum of emotion in each of its 12 songs. Whether our narrator is discussing a lost love in heartbreaking detail (“No Ocean”), the push to never give up on one’s ambitions (“Life’s Pretty Tight and You’re Alright”), or a careless night with food and pals (“Friends”), Fridd manages to somehow make the songs feel both completely personal and relatable – with enough moving parts to allow elements of his narrative to fit the listener’s life, while never sacrificing an honest snapshot of his own.
Opening track “Chamber of Secrets for 1” is a beat-driven banger about love that can never be, with a Harry Potter remake music video to boot, while album standout “OtherSong”, which Fridd notes on Facebook is the album’s “mean one”, sees Mr. Pigeon ending a love that was never meant to be.
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These are flip sides of a coin that may not be easy to acknowledge, showcasing Terror Pigeon’s knack for delving into pressing topics with honesty and self-recognition. “Arms”, for example, deals with the passing of a close friend, best summarized by the band’s Facebook post on the track. The album’s penultimate tune, “Love is Stronger Than Everything and You Can’t Run Out of It”, almost acts as the record’s thesis statement – covering love, loss, regret and hope in one triumphant, loud battle cry.
The soul that goes into Fridd’s auteurist pop music is as refreshing as it is inspiring; few bands can deliver the line “because of you I’m full of tacos” with such complete sincerity, finding light and significance in even the most mundane events. Terror Pigeon is an exceptional live band, yes, but they’re not just a live band, and if you need proof, then blow up that inflatable snowman and dive into We Will Never Run Out of Love with an open mind, an open heart – and tacos.