Seamus Fogarty’s soul-stirring blend of alt-folk, country, blues and electronica – performed by Seamus himself on a variety of instruments against a background of fragmented recordings and found sounds, from broken household appliances to snippets of random conversations with friends and neighbours – is like nothing else in contemporary music: an intriguingly uneasy handshake between the ancient and the modern. Where God Damn You Mountain – recently hailed by Mercury Prize-nominated artist Jon Hopkins as “a shambolic masterpiece” in an interview with Mojo – was recorded in a cottage in the West of Ireland where he grew up, the Ducks & Drakes EP took shape in his adopted home of London. “The album was kind of me looking back where as these tunes are more about where I am now and how I got here,” says Seamus. “I’m from the country but soon I’ll have spent most of my life living in cities. Fields and rivers have been replaced by parks, ponds and the tube but I don’t think I’ll ever fully adjust to city life, and that’s fine with me. That’s probably why I fill songs with samples of various friends and neighbours I grew up with, to remind myself of where I come from, who I’ve met and where I’ve been.”
Motivated by the self-imposed challenge of “making something that sounded bigger even though the space I had to record and mix them was much smaller than what I had previously,” the songs see Seamus use more electronics, bass and drum machines among other tools. Over a finger-picked acoustic guitar phrase and a gently warping electronic beat, the title track features such varied ornamentation as Seamus’s first ever attempt at playing saxophone on a record and the dying wheezy whirr of his old washing machine as it completes its farewell cycle. There are hints of Smog about ‘Holyhead’, a woozy sea shanty set to queasy piano and banjo charting strange encounters on the evocative ferry journey from Holyhead to Dublin. Lasting over ten minutes and taking up the entirety of the record’s B-side, ‘A Mile Beneath The Broken Heart of London Town’ is a kaleidoscopic reflection on “searching for somewhere to call home,” melding what began as three separate compositions into a single dreamy, beautiful, haunting whole.
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Find a quiet spot, sit down, put on the headphones, and don't do anything else but listen to this album. Symptoms will include shivers, a rush of intense emotions, and the desire to see Kathryn Joseph live. No, YOU'RE weeping into your coffee, transfixed by this beautiful, heartrending music. Saint Aardvark