Non Nordic Sunday: The Open Fire Pigeon Choir (UK) - ‘Ravenspurn Renewed’ (EP)
One of our most mentioned (and often featured) bands are the UK based Army of Moths, so when they published a lovely list of artists / musicians to consider listening to on Bandcamp Friday, it was my pleasure to work through the lot – albeit missing out Major Parkinson obviously, who I obviously know far too well for my own good already.
The name that stood out most was The Open Fire Pigeon Choir, simply I guess because it was the longest, but also because it sounds so lovely. I’ve never been serenaded by a group of pigeons whilst sitting around a camp fire, but post Covid it sounds like the type of thing I want to do.
The project is based around the musician Darryl Anthony, who lives in Lincoln in the UK, and whilst I’m sure he’s been involved in projects I should know about, I’m actually not aware of any. But that makes The Open Fire Pigeon Choir a really nice surprise, and his music is genuinely charming, with a warmth I wasn’t quite expecting for some reason.
He’s only released a few tracks under the moniker, and I’m heading back a couple of months to ‘Ravenspurn Renewed’, a 4 track EP he self released, with help from a few musicians, mainly Ragnar Reich, who drummed, programmed and mixed the tracks. Interesting the whole thing was then mastered by James Larcombe, also known for his exploits with the excellent North Sea Radio Orchestra, Arch Garrison and many more projects.
Title track ‘Ravenspurn Renewed’ is a stylish, laid back track, with a gorgeous melody that just floats away, and short sections of instrumentals that keep things interesting, maybe with some progressive / psychedelic influences. With the soft almost classical feel to the vocals, there’s even a hint of Neil Hannon, whilst the sax solo is unexpected, but adds to the cool, easy going feel.
‘Made From a Star’ is a curious track in some ways, but the lyrics really captured my attention because they are simply really enchanting: “if there’s a big guy in the sky / watching over don’t you worry / just be kind and you will find / there’s no need to tell a lie / feel ashamed or say you're sorry / question all and know your mind / because you were made from a star”. But then the track just wanders away as if it’s searching for that twinkling (or exploding) star in the sky, with a hint of ‘medieval folk’ (reminding me of Arch Garrison) and a melody that heads off in a direction you won’t quite expect either. Again it's that little bit different.
The quirky but completely irresistible ‘Stop Crashing My Dreams’ is next, just dancing it’s way through with harmonic ‘pings’ interspersed throughout, but contrasting with slightly threatening lyrics (“oh my god you’re getting right on my nerves, one of these days you’ll get what you deserve”) – I remember Clearlake used similar lyrical contrasts sometimes. But the swell of instrumental sound is just gorgeous and the track might be a little warped, but it just seems to fit together somehow so well.
It all concludes with ‘One More Beer’, which starts simply enough, but the chord progressions are just that little bit unusual perhaps, with lyrics again that are slightly darker than you’ll think when it opens – “At least I’ll never have to go near that shithole of a town again”, which following on from our Hwaino feature makes me wonder if he’s been to Grimsby too. Then the track gets carried away with waltzing instrumentals and a crescendo of intensity that concludes the whole thing rather nicely.
Interesting and unusual, I’ve just loved getting to know this EP from The Open Fire Pigeon Choir. With lovely tunes, instrumental sections that will surprise and charm, and lyrical topics that cover almost anything and everything, sometimes sweet, sometimes sad, I really want to hear more from this project, and I very much hope there’s an album in the making.
I can currently only find him on Bandcamp, so not that easy to connect on socials, but please consider supporting him there, and on Facebook you can always follow Army of Moths who were kind enough to recommend his music in the first place.
Also when I wrote this I didn’t realise that Darryl Anthony recorded and co-produced William D Drake‘s amazing Briny Hooves album, as well as doing some live work with him, so there’s some good background.