Some of the best Americana you'll hear this year comes from deep in the heart of Perthshire. Like Bon Iver, Bill Callahan and Willard Grant Conspiracy, Aberfeldy's Star Wheel Press favour a melancholic muse, where the sourness of disappointment is sweetened by the ache of the melody.
Debut album The Life Cycle Of A Falling Bird sold well in Scotland's independent record shops (Ian Rankin counts himself as a fan); on this EP the band rework five of those songs while offering one solitary new track that promises big things for album number two.
Most of the changes are cleaner but subtle (Subbuteo has more stomp to its beat, for example, while the now prominent banjo on Hey Lord adds a back-porch feel to the original's gospel blues, with Northern Irish singer Foy Vance guesting on backing vocals). New song Multiple Personality Murder is a standout, balancing Ryan Hannigan's cracked baritone with Craig Milton's nimble finger-picking and mining a dark humour that's reminiscent of the Handsome Family at their best.
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If you're a newcomer, the EP is a bargain as a £3 download from starwheelpress.bandcamp.com, but it's worth shelling out an extra two quid to get the CD version too, as it comes packaged with Hannigan's cover artwork.