Boomkat Product Review:
Beneath Fire & Smoke is the operating moniker of one Pete Hedley, a man who popped up recently on the very excellent Voice of the Seven Woods LP. He might not be amazingly well known, but coming from Doug Shipton's already essential Battered Ornaments label you should know that you're in for something special. Sticking to the theme of dusty old European film soundtracks of the 70s which we explored on the last few 7"s, this time around we've got a 10" and it's possibly the best release yet on the label. Hedley manages to melt a side-swiping electrified folkiness to his music, much in the same realm as Tunng, but where Tunng go for the slightly twee end of the genre, Hedley hits for the soft-focus surrealism and abstraction of the Beta Band. While the opening track is probably the most obvious hit, with chanted vocals accompanying Eastern European-style violins, the standout track for me is 'The Iceberg Waltz', which takes a fuzzy piano motif and lavishes it with emotion and nostalgia to create a track you can play over and over again. There is obviously a distinct theme emerging from the Battered Ornaments label, one linked to Shipton's Finders Keepers label and Andy Votel's Twisted Nerve but somehow fresher and slightly under the radar. We like this very much!