The new Pale Blue Eyes single Dr Pong arrives on the back of substantial radio airplay. Previous single TV Flicker was this Devon-based band’s first release on the Full Time Hobby label and made the B-list at BBC Radio 6 Music. But while the TV Flicker single’s indelible synth lines masked lyrical reflections on mortality, the new single is a celebration of joy and sunshine – and of Berlin and table tennis.
“This song is about good times,” says PBE singer / guitarist Matt Board. “It’s about being in Berlin, on what seemed like an endless summer. We’d play table tennis in Berlin’s public parks, with hours of rounds of cold beers from the Spätkaufs, the Berlin convenience stores that were always open. Then we found a little bar called Dr Pong – cheap beer and what we called ‘round the world’ table tennis – dancing round the table with all these smiling strangers, taking turns to hit the glowing white ball. We’d sometimes be there all night and into the morning. The track is a celebration of great memories from Berlin – and of our love for this city. It’s about positive memories, about remembering to enjoy memories and moments in challenging times.”
The Dr Pong single comes in two different guises. The radio edit is lithesome, slightly intoxicated pop music – a sophisticated haze of synths, rhythms and blissed-out vocals. The seven-minute original version will feature on the band’s debut album. This long version is a different entity. Across the seven minutes, we have a warm reverie leading to a more intense finale, sounds that might forge a different route through every listener’s neural networks. Both versions are accompanied by a video from the film maker Dylan Friese-Greene, a Devon friend of the band.