Chaffinch sent in a batch of singles and this one happens to be their very first release, a collection of Scottish experimental indie folk that I haven't seen covered too many places. Chaffinch is doing what Fort Lowell and hundreds before them; documenting an under represented scene in their own backyard. I can't say that I've encountered any of these artists before and this EP is a perfect introduction to the label's ideology and some of the contemporary talent out of Scotland. The lonely dog on the front sleeve painting with a cone collar finally has a home.
South Downs kicks it off with layers of harmonized vocals and acoustic guitar with a sunny background swell of la la's, it's an upbeat tune about heartbreak. Lucky Luke, who's also featured on this EP actually brought this home recorded project over to Chaffinch for inclusion on this single. It's firmly rooted in the classic songwriters of '60s folk pop, simple melodies and pop sentiment, but it's still modern enough to put it hesitantly into a neo-folk category.
Immigrant, aka Graeme McNab, reminds me of the intimate bedroom recordings of the Canadian 4 tracker, Hayden. Just breathy vocals against a lonesome organ, it's the simplest setup like that he uses to great effect. It's a brief moment of closeness that makes the lack of info on this artist even more mysterious. A standout minimal track that warrants further investigation if he hasn't given up the songwriting game all together.
Next up, is 'Please Bomb Slough' from Lucky Luke, this B-Side track takes a bossanova rhythm and applies a psyche folk feel with this eclectic 6 piece, though not a song to inspire bombing exactly...you might second guess the whole thing if you were listening to this mellow saxophone, flute and bouzouki (I wiki'd is sort of a Greek sitar) number. They somehow manage to tame this massive arrangement into catchy pop with guy/girl vocals from Simon Shaw and Morag Wilson. They actually recently released a full length on the prolific Mexican Summer label and I could see them getting along nicely with MV + EE.
King Creosote rounds out the EP with another track exclusive to this release with an acoustic/ electric slide guitar melody over a brushed snare rhythm...it's chugging right along as a sort of extended intro or chorus part with a repeated vocal melody that just slowly fades out on this slice of indie folk happening in Scotland.
Get it from Chaffinch Records. No US distro as far as I can tell, so you'll have to special order this import from somewhere local or contact them directly.
A shame really.