Who? Sheffield, U.K. teacher Duncan Sumpner is the one-man wonder behind ethereal prog-folk act Songs of Green Pheasant. Starting off as a solo artist on a 2002 collection of demos, which was recorded under the Kayak moniker and released as SoGP by the Fat Cat label, Sumpner’s added some other bodies to play drums, bass and trumpet for his sophomore release — Gyllyng Street drops stateside Sept. 18.
What’s the Deal? The cover of Gyllyng Street — an anonymous man looking out at a harsh sea on a grey morning — might do the best job of conveying the mood of an album since Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here.” That’s apt, since SoGP has a lot of Floyd’s hazed-out feeling and recalls Flying Saucer Attack and what might’ve happened if Nick Drake had been Sigur Rós’ principal songwriter. Sumpner’s overdubbed and reverbed vocals serve more of an instrumental than thematic purpose as they’re so hard to discern. But that’s fine since repeated plays (oversized headphones and incense pretty much mandatory) make this one of the most engrossing listens of the year.
Fun Fact: The folks at the Fat Cat imprint took quickly to the four-track demo Sumpner sent them in 2002, but a gone-bad email address made it impossible to contact the 32-year-old tunesmith to set up a deal. Finally, more than two years later, the two sides connected and Songs of Green Pheasant’s heralded eponymous debut was issued in 2005.
Now Hear This:
Songs of Green Pheasant – “King Friday” DOWNLOAD MP3
On the Web:
Songs of Green Pheasant at Fat Cat Records
Talk: Will Sumpner’s fog-cloaked creations find a beacon on these shores?
Get a Free Digital Sampler from SPIN.com and Insound!
When you spend $25 at Insound.com, you can download a free sampler featuring tracks from Bright Eyes, Dungen, Dinosaur Jr., and many more! FIND OUT HOW >>