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Posted: November 25th, 2006, by Alex McChesney

In August of last year I gushed about Green Pheasant’s eponymous debut album – a handful of songs originally recorded at home on a four-track for demo purposes, but which so impressed Fat Cat that they chose to release it with hardly any modification. I did, however, have one reservation: much as I loved its woozy, dream-like quality, I did wonder how much of that was down to the circumstances of its recording. The low-fi, distant qualities of cassette tape suits gentle acoustica more than any other genre you might attempt to commit to it, and the production on that album, consisting largely of turning the “reverb” dial all the way to eleven, could easily have been a response to the weaknesses of the format as much as a deliberate attempt to gently obfuscate. Would the larger budget that signing would inevitably bring result in a more obvious, less charmingly obscure sophomore album?

Thankfully, I needn’t have worried. Aerial Days sees Duncan Sumpner reject the temptations of the studio and continue recording at home, albeit having splashed out on some slightly more modern recording equipment, resulting in an album that’s more an appropriate and carefully judged step forward than a baby-and-bathwater-discarding act of self indulgence. As before the songs have a hallucinatory quality, but the hints of a folkier past have been toned down a little, a some new-found freedom has been exercised in terms of instrumentation, with friends adding recorder and trumpet to the bedroom guitar-and-drum-machine setup.

The only mis-step being a slightly-too-twee cover of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence”, Aerial Days enriches the sound of its predecessor with care, and its creator deserves credit for restraint alone.

Fat Cat

Alex McChesney

Alex was brought up by a family of stupid looking monkeys after being lost in the deep jungles of Paisley. Teaching him all their secret conga skills (as well as how to throw barrels at plumbers), Alex was able to leave for the bright lights of Glasgow where adventure struck him and he needed all his conga skills to save the world and earn the hand of a lovely Texan princess. He now keeps a low profile alphabeticising his record collection and making sock monkeys in the likenesses of his long lost family.


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