Special Pillow: World's Finest  CD/LP   (Zofko Records)

Release date: June 26, 2020

Bio: After twenty-five years in showbiz, The Special Pillow are right where they started: flying below the radar in Hoboken, New Jersey, creating a distinctive string-driven sound—a heady brew encompassing concise ’60s-flavored pop gems, dreamy psychedelic reveries, and a propulsive drive redolent of the antipodean indie acts of the ’80s. To commemorate their silver jubilee milestone, The Special Pillow has unleashed World’s Finest, an old-school six-song EP laden with the catchy and confounding songcraft that has earned them notable fans like Yo La Tengo, who covered the group’s classic “Automatic Doom” in 2015.

World’s Finest—the follow-up to the Pillow’s acclaimed 2018 album, Sleeping Weird—continues their collaboration with engineer Mitch Rackin. Featured players include bassist, songwriter, and majordomo Dan Cuddy (ex-Hypnolovewheel); charter Special Pillow member Katie Gentile (Run On, Mad Scene) on violin and viola; longtime collaborator Peter Stuart (Headless Horsemen, Tryfles) on a staggering array of guitars; and Eric Marc Cohen (Fly Ashtray, Autobody) on drums and percussion. All the band members contribute vocals, and the celestial choir is enhanced by the dulcet tones of folk chanteuse Debby Schwartz (of P.G. Six. Psych-O-Positive, and solo renown). Multi-instrumentalist Robbie Lee supplies mellifluous embellishments on an arsenal of flutes, and ecstatic and celebratory horns on the title track are courtesy of Steven Levi and Cheryl Kingan (The Scene Is Now, 75 Dollar Bill). Capping off the digital version is a hallucinogenic remix of the single “I Woke Up” via North Carolina noisenik High Tunnels, aka Dan’s old Hypnolovewheel colleague Dave Ramirez.

Charming, idiosyncratic, and overflowing with instant classics, World’s Finest marks a new high point in The Special Pillow’s storied oeuvre.