The latest release from Edinburgh based purveyors of weird and eccentric audio curiosities, Bearsuit Records, is called A Small Blue Car. Title aside, much of it sounds like it’s being sung by the crew of some damned, dieselpunk pirate ship, or perhaps like the elevator muzak they play in one of the lower circles of hell. The artist is even called Eamon The Destroyer. Tell me that’s NOT a perfect name for a demon and/or pirate.
The album opens with ‘Silver Shadow’, which is what you might get if Ennio Morricone and Nick Cave decided to collaborate on a track, only to them hand it off to a producer who was very, very depressed.
Then it’s off to the ‘Tomahawk Den’, a track that initially sounds like it could be playing on the radio in some French bistro on the streets of Edinburgh before a distinctly industrial drum and shrill, tortured guitars join the mix, the song morphing into something that’s almost folk… but not quite.
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‘A Slow Motion Fade’ is one minute and twenty seven seconds of tormented ambient sound. It’s not quite music, sounding more like the wail of some otherworldly horn, a demonic call to war or alarm. Just in case the previous two tracks weren’t suggestion enough that this album is taking no prisoners. ‘Humanity is Coming’ sounds like it crept out of some eldritch music box, all fuzzy vocals, and thick, booming synth.
The ambience returns with ‘The Conjuring Stops’, a thumping, ululating track which sounds like it slunk out of some alien laboratory from a 1950’s sci-fi movie. ‘Avalanche’ is certainly an apt title for the track that follows, slamming into the senses in a discordant, almost off-key wall of noise before suddenly shifting into what sounds like some twisted, low-fi parody of a love song.
‘My Drive’ is the standout track on the album. It’s the most… conventional? Accessible? Sad and thoughtful while still sounding like it was recorded from a radio that was placed far too close to the microphone, a shrill, scratching squeal underpinning the wistful vocals. ‘Uledaru’ is the second to last ambient track and it is an odd little number. It sounds like it’s partly based on an alarm recorded in a subway somewhere that was then mixed with the drone and buzz of an alien crowd having a conversation in something that’s not quite intelligible.
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The penultimate (and longest) track, ‘Nothing Like Anything’, wouldn’t sound entirely out of place on Pink Floyd’s seminal concept album The Wall, at least to begin with. As we pass the halfway mark it abruptly steals a bunch of synthesisers and decides that it’s tired of being a bit prog-rock and instead it would quite like to head straight into something that’s almost electronica. That’s still before it suddenly stops just long enough for someone to run out and grab an electric guitar to add to the mix, because at this point why not just throw literally everything into one track?
The album closes out with a wistful, Vangelis-esque little track called ‘The Tide to Seal Away’ which is both poignant and hopeful. These ambient tracks are probably the most fascinating aspect of the album, each one distinctly unique, sharing nothing in common except their style and length.
In terms of accessibility this slots in somewhere between Harold Nono and the recently released Bunny & the Invalid Singers. An easier listen than Harold, not as easy as Bunny. If you like your music a bit more thick and grindy, a bit more down-tempo, this is worth a listen. It’s another quirky and off-beat release from Bearsuit, and it’s great to see this kind of music finding a home.
A Small Blue Car is out on 12th November from Bearsuit Records.