Hushed pastoral strangeness is the flavour. Strange titles are good too - "A Dried Seahorse" evokes images of curious wood-panelled rooms filled with biological curiosities and fusty chemical odours. The cover picture, a painting of a hare, also lends a sense of a stuffed menagerie in some Edwardian study. Or perhaps that's just me. It isn't all warm, fuzzy folksiness though; there's a clinical studio feel at the base of it all. This couldn't be mistaken with the High Sixties. Any similarities with Syd Barrett are passed through a heavy digital filter aside from the delicately-fingered guitar and cello arcs.
The opener is apparently about a dried seahorse that his Dad showed him as a child one afternoon. It has a delicious treated, slightly discordant slide see-sawing throughout. "Glass Axe" (which would've worked as a good description of the music on the album too) is about wandering through wastelands and "a celebration the island of the dead/Where you dance to/Music collected to celebrate you". It's full of sharp little peaks and there's a reference to "golden hair", which must be a reference to Syd.
I suppose this is music of a countryside where there's broadband brambled into the hedgerows and laptops reflected in the window on dark, windy nights. The electronic network that meshes underneath all our thoughts. It occasionally rises up Skynet-like to remind us on which side are bread is buttered these days - like at the end of "Mullioned View". This is the countryside now for millions of people, especially those making music. (Not that there are millions of people making music. I'd love to think there were!)
"Window Sill" also has a window-based title. "Andromeon" has a dulcimer-like skittle under it. It lurches with darting saxophone movements. The closer "Rh" has a downbeat feel to it undercut by not-quite-happy clappy glitches marking out a path between the cello scrapes and . It peters out with Renaissance type of noises and into white noise. The title track is a favourite: Tangerine Floyd-flavoured with big, cold keyboard noises and lyrics about dreaming and flying around the sun.
Rating: Skynet out of Hedgerows