Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review: Evil Uncle: - Songs For The Road EP

As soggy motorists trudged back to the Electric Picnic car park five thousand of them found a surprise underneath their window wipers. The latest EP from Galway singer/songwriter Evil Uncle. The aptly titled 'Songs For The Road' had been lovingly nestled overnight by a craic team of Evil Brothers and Sisters.

Evil Uncle opens this EP with his tongue firmly in his cheek for opening track Gardening. Behind a slightly overdriven arpeggio guitar line the bass plays the melody from Nina Simone's Feeling Good. Gardening is not a feel good song however, as the listener soon discovers, its a meticulous blow by blow account of a peeping toms night up a tree and some may say that the lyrics are a little too knowing not to be true. 

A choir sample you might expect to find in a Sisters of Mercy song weaves in and out as the voyeur recants his experience "I thought of creeping forward And write my name on my breath on your window" being one of the more choice lyrics. The deadpan spoken-word style vocal delivery makes this song ever the more weird and witty. With Its "My Peek At You" chorus the voyeur realises the futility of his actions "And what's it for now darling. All this creeping in your front garden. It doesn't get me close to you It's true."

The shortest song on the EP Something for Nothing is fast paced with several tempo and key changes reminiscent in a way of 'Fuzzy Logic' era Super Furry Animals. The lyrics are once again, full of take it or leave it dry wit. The vocal harmonies and one note stabbing piano lines work really well throughout the song, helping it build at the right moments. I'm not sure if its ironic or just another in-joke, that a song called Something For Nothing is on a free CD.

Junkies Killed My Babies is the most standard formatted song on the EP ie verse chorus guitar solo etc. The originality is all in the narrative about a bereaved man struggling at the loss of his girlfriend to drugs and what may or may not be his personal struggle to get clean, thoughts of suicide, remorse, and what will never be..

Spider Song Sees Evil Uncle spin another unusual narrative, for what at first glance is a song about "Timmy the Spider", is actually a song about being stuck in on a Saturday night, looking desperately for entertainment in every corner of the house. In this song Evil Uncle asks the big question that has divided Veterinarians and Pet Detectives the world over. "Does Timmy Have a Soul?" The EU fails to answer this question but leaves us with the refrain "Hey Timmy you’re so fine, yeah you’re so fine you blow my mind." The influence of Neil Hannon of The Divine Comedy can also be felt on this, the undoubted highlight of 'Songs For the Road'.

'Songs For The Road' concludes with Sunny Day in Space a jaunty alt country number. The influence of Gruff Rhys returns and the song is also influenced by Tim Buckley. As well as a sing-along chorus, this song contains some vivid stream of consciousness lyrics "Sausage rolls and landing lights, Foggy breath wire fence shopping feet and mountain side, And the postman’s pocket book is dripping ink all over his bike, Head down, lucky dip, eyes closed ice cold eyes."

The EP flounders where several of the songs contain false starts and noodling endings giving the EP a DIY feel rather than serious studio sheen. 'Songs for the Road' is buy no means perfect but its surely one of the most creative Irish EP's released this year.