Songs of Green Pheasant - Aerial Days

It's not easy to put this album into words, but perhaps cosmic folk pop might give some indication of the sounds contained within.

 

Songs of Green Pheasant – Aerial Days

 

Sheffield schoolteacher Duncan Sumpner is the man behind Songs of Green Pheasant and Aerial Days is his second album. The first hung around his record label's offices for years because they didn't know who had submitted the demo. Anyway, it all worked out OK in the end and the follow up, Aerial Days, had a somewhat less protracted gestation.

 

The album opens with Pink by White, a dreamy pop song with frail and echo-y vocals over strummed guitar and drums. There's something of the late sixties about it, and something of the shoegazing movement too. It's not a compact verse – chorus – verse song but one that slowly unfurls, and one with an almost hypnotic quality. Towards the end keyboards enter the mix, and a fuzzy electric guitar, but they don't alter the faintly psychedelic nature of the song. Remembering and Forgetting begins slowly with plucked guitar before Simon and Garfunkel-like singing comes in – again the singing is back in the mix and it is hard to pick out the words. Imagine the sixties folk-popsters as if they were singing on mogadon. After a while chime-like sounds come in and enliven the proceedings before the song returns to its hushed origins. Wolves Amongst Snowmen manages to mix the sounds of the first two songs – the instrumentation of the first with the singing of the second.

 

The singing remains wistful, the song slow paced, but over time the beats begin to increase and the guitars make more positive interventions. Having said that the sound is still that of songs slipping by, out of reach, as though you are actually hearing echoes of songs from long ago. Stars Form Birds maintains the mood but has interesting percussion noises and a wonky piano. The cover of Dear Prudence is relatively faithful, if in a bleached out, blissed out way. The album's seventh and final track is Brody Jacket, an instrumental. It's an elegiac way to finish the album, sober and yet also hopeful.

 

It's not easy to put this album into words, but perhaps cosmic folk pop might give some indication of the sounds contained within. Perhaps because of the multi tracked vocals there is also something almost medieval about it too. There is perhaps a sense that the sound could do with a little shaking up but it is nevertheless a beguiling release.

 

Words: Chris Dawson.