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songs of green pheasant - Gyllyng Street
By this, his third release, Songs Of Green Pheasant's Duncan Sumpner has all but entirely divorced himself from the four-track obscurity of his earlier work, instead embarcing something approaching a full-band sound and an altogether more elaborate production (this time he's using an eight-track). As was hinted at by last year's Aerial Days EP, Sumpner's current musical inclinations have favoured scaled-up shoegaze-styled aesthetics over the ultra-lo-fi freak folk tendencies of his eponymous debut. As a result of this the songs are less direct and eschew the customary trappings of singer-songwriter setups, instead favouring more textured productions and impressionistic instrumentation, awash with echo and touches of abstraction (just take a listen to the somnambulant tones of standout piece 'The Ballad Of Century Paul'). Significantly this tends not to be at the expense of the songs themselves: 'Alex Drifting Alone' maintains a Cocteau Twins-inspired grace and poise, without ever losing a sense of structure. By the close of the track, soaring trumpet passages fire-up and the whole thing ascends into something of Sigur Ros proportions - and let's not forget this is all recorded onto a humble eight-track recorder somewhere in the Peak District. Listening back to those early recordings you'd be hard-pressed to have foreseen an artist undergoing such a quick process of maturation, and regardless of what you think of the transformation, Gyllyng Street marks an undeniable increase in scope and ambition for Songs Of Green Pheasant.