Chirper Horskret is a Glaswegian, self-proclaimed “experimental” songwriter, whose tall tales bring to mind Nick Cave or Tom Waits if he put down the whiskey bottle and the Brecht fantasies.
After a bedroom recorded debut record comes Domino Minefield, a five track EP that offers an insight into an original talent.
Opener ‘Homeless Devil’ sounds like a man shouting into the maw of a storm, thunderous ripples of electric guitar crossing paths with acoustic picking and strumming.
There’s a palpable air of menace to its three-note main riff, as many voices sigh and moan in the background.
The waltz time ‘Yesterday Aliens Came Around to my Door’ owes a huge debt to Neutral Milk Hotel’s ‘In the Aeroplane…’, but with gothic chants about allergies mixed with a simple but effective melody it’s a glimpse of Chirper Horskret’s agenda.
These songs can be oblique and impenetrable, tensions arising in the space between the darkly comic and the darkness at the core.
‘Blood from a Stone’ uses spooky tremolo in its middle segment to great effect, while the seven-minute ‘Black Bear’ uses folksy harmonica to conjure the middle ground between The Doors and Dylan.
The instrumental arrangements are strong, with figures picked out on harpsichord and some clever use of sound effects to conjure images of shadowy pine forests and footsteps in the dark
‘(Reprise)’ revisits some of the EP’s most memorable hooks over simple acoustic guitar and phantom brass burbles, it’s not an original touch, but it’s one that folds the record back on itself, shining new light on some interesting themes.
Words: Max Sefton