Cardiff’s PIGEON WIGS are back with the stomping, Stones-y new single: “Radiation Blues”; the latest track to be taken from the quintet’s brand new mini-album ‘Rock By Numbers’.
With its rough-cut ‘70s stylings, lurching electric guitar riffs, and coarse vocal howls,“Radiation Blues” pays homage to the rock greats that inspired Pigeon Wigs in their formative years, while pausing for reflection on one of the most significant man-made disasters in recent times.
Creating a microcosm of the events of the Chernobyl disaster that shook the world in 1986, vocalist Harry Franklin-Williams explains of the unusual subject matter behind their latest single:
“Lyrically the song is a play-by-play of the Chernobyl disaster. I read accounts of people involved and used that as a way of retelling the story of this awful event through a more easily digestible medium. Hopefully I’ve done the event justice and been respectful to those involved. It’s such a massively intense subject so I think the harder, more classic bluesy rock approach was a good framing device.”
With its aggressive Rolling Stones-esque riff nailed down by guitarist Louis Jugessur, he took it to bandmate Franklin-Williams who worked-in its unsettling lyrical themes around it. Recorded in Music Box and other rehearsal spaces around Cardiff, the finished track was then produced by Tom Rees of Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard. Speaking about the recording process Jugessur adds..
“When Harry and I started writing, Exile On Main Street was a big thing for us, that riff was inspired by the track ‘Ventilator Blues’. I mentioned the title to Harry and showed him the riff and he wrote all the lyrics based off the Chernobyl disaster. The recording of it came out in a really fun loose way. We hadn’t really practised it properly, at the session we basically jammed it and all the solos and everything were improvised. We just had a rough structure where things were going to go quiet to loud. It was a fun off the cuff thing where everyone just vibed.”
The new release also follows The Line Of Best Fit, The Independent and Louder Than War-backed recent single “Hold Up!” and emerges as the second track to be taken from Pigeon Wigs’ upcoming mini-album ‘Rock By Numbers’ (due 7 July 2023 via Clwb Music).
Recorded before the band had played a single gig, guitarist Louis Jugessur and lead-singer Harry Franklin-Williams wrote the mini-album in the latter’s living room over the course of a few weeks. He jokes: “We wanted to be able to arrive on the scene fully formed like a baby with a moustache or furniture not from IKEA.”
Produced and mixed by Tom Rees of fellow Cardiff band Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, the new album features the two singles alongside an eclectic range of new tracks including dizzying psych-rock romp “Come Of Age”, breezy ballad “You Play Me” (produced by Andrew Bishop) and climactic closer “Epilogue 6” (produced by Harry Franklin-Williams and CVC’s Elliot Bradfield). Of the upcoming release, Franklin-Williams explains…
“‘Rock By Numbers’ 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.”
Funnelling a vast and varied, yet eerily relatable, array of themes through a psychedelic-pop lens, he adds..
“When it comes to the lyrics themselves the main themes are dysfunctional relationships, loss and finding a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of these songs were written during a turbulent time in my life: both romantic and familial relationships falling apart, watching the death of your heroes and working through that to see the better times ahead. I’m much more objective about all these topics now, but at the time I used these songs to help work through all the feelings I was having in a way that I hope connects with other people.”
PIGEON WIGS – UK LIVE DATES
24/06/23 – Southampton Heartbreakers (For Breakfast)
28/06/23 – London, The Lexington (CVC)
22/07/23 – Cardiff, Clwb Ifor Bach – ‘Rock By Numbers’ Launch Show
26/07/23 – Bristol, Crofters Rights
29/07/23 – Kendal Calling Festival
05/08/23 – Newport, Le Pub headline
17/08/23 – Green Man Festival
25/08/23 – Shambala Festival