Silence Will Be Assumed As Acceptance is the fourth album by eclectic electronica artist Amongst The Pigeons. The album was recorded in his ‘shedio’ between the summer of 2019 and the winter of 2020; a period of time which saw global lockdowns, international protests and upheaval in just about every aspect of daily life. That is very much reflected on the album, with lyrics from a number of guest vocalists referencing key movements, events and themes of the last year or so.
There are two ways to listen to Silence Will Be Assumed As Acceptance – try and decode and decipher every track and every lyric, or just sit back and enjoy the ride. Both approaches have their merits and are equally enjoyable. It is an album of big themes and Amongst The Pigeons doesn’t shy away from tackling big topics which is to be applauded; indeed it would be good if a few more artists would delve into this kind of territory. And while it might not always be perfectly executed, there is a rebellious energy, an honest spirit and a DIY ethos that carries it all along on a sea of wonky electronica and lashings of subterranean psychedelic sound.
The Great Dying is essentially a spoken word piece about the climate crisis and Extinction Rebellion sitting above a tinny electronic storm. The next track Before The Storm Hits tackles an equally significant subject. It is a freaky reflection of lockdown – psychedelic electronica with guest vocals from Portsmouth’s highly rated Fast Trains. After The Storm could be considered to be the second part of Before The Storm Hits, the haunting vocals of Megan Linford making the awakening of society post lockdown sound just as strange as the lockdown itself. The production here is intriguing, giving the track a post-club vibe which can be read as working well with the feeling of surviving the storm, or acts as a clever juxtaposition to the actual energy and euphoria of coming out of lockdown in real life.
Can You Manage? Do You Understand? is a glitchy, slightly disturbing track riffing on the fate of a Wuhan doctor who was silenced by the Chinese authorities and the social media campaign which followed to support the doctor. As I’ve mentioned earlier in the review, these are big themes and take on various colossal issues. It would be easy for an album to get lost amongst its themes and messages but Silence Will Be Assumed As Acceptance manages to walk the line quite skilfully. Whilst some of the themes might be diverse in nature (and indeed some of the sounds) the album works as a whole; it doesn’t feel disjointed or overwhelmed by its own ambition.
Holding My Breath is a brilliantly constructed track. Due to the pandemic, the vocalists on the album largely recorded their vocals at home and sent them on to the ‘shedio’. On this particular track Tiger Mendoza and Charis Cooper recorded very different offerings which have been skilfully interwoven to produce a piece of music that has similarities to artists as diverse as Hot Chip, Pet Shop Boys and Jane Weaver, and yet ultimately sounds individual and distinct.
The last track on Side A is Colour Blind, a strange, snappy song coming in at under two minutes long and probably most notable for being primarily played on a toy accordion. N.V.O.D. is an entertaining assault on the incompetency and corruption of the Tory government but it lacks of the full throttle bite of a track by somebody like Sleaford Mods. Bring The Stars Closer features gorgeous vocals from Emma King, subtly mixed over a chilled Balearic back beat. Its position straight after a political tirade isn’t an obvious choice but this isn’t an album of obvious choices and it leads nicely into the last section of the album. It has big remix potential and could well become a song of choice for people enjoying a social drink in the sun after a year of pandemic hardship.
You The People contains a Charlie Chaplin speech which still feels relevant today, over 60 years later. Beats and Slippers is an experimental song, merging over 30 layers of vocals above a sort of komische music that carries the track along. The penultimate track Spread Hope features vocals from The Sad Song Co and has a feel of dated sci-fi experimentation. It could easily be the type of track discovered by a crate digger searching for a 70s electronica sound from a time before such a thing really existed. You’re On Mute is really finishing where the opening track started – save humanity, save the future – spoken word over a wonky electronic beat.
Silence Will Be Assumed As Acceptance is a record full of diverse sounds from across the electronic sound spectrum, exploring the issues of modern life, society and human existence today. It’s a good album but more significantly, it is an important album. More artists need to speak up and speak out on some of these issues and this album shows that you can do that in a number of ways, without sacrificing artistic freedom or the scope to experiment and explore. Yes, that matters.
Amongst The Pigeons – Silence Will Be Assumed As Acceptance will be released 7th May 2021