Songs of Green Pheasant

Aerial Days

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Aerial Days could be classified as an odds-and-sods EP, but it feels like a whole lot more. There are moments here that feel a little more Flaming Lips-ish than the previous material, what with the prevalence of some buzzy electric bass and the sheer washes of synthesizer, but for the most part the album sticks with the same sort of dreamy, transcendental folksiness found on Songs of Green Pheasant's first release. The production is tangibly cleaner, as if a layer of dust has been gently rubbed away, and thankfully it does nothing but magnify Duncan Sumpner's strengths. "Pink by White" is one of the album's best moments, pulling on all the resonating, lilting elements of the first album, as if it were an echo of "I Am Daylights." All the strongest moments here, in fact, are those that touch on songs from the debut album. "Remembering and Forgetting" is introspective and meandering, building with the kind of startling intensity that recalls "Truth but Not Fact," and "Wintered" recalls "Burning Man" with its mysterious recorder harmonies and spectral bells. If there's a lackluster track here it's Sumpner's timid cover of "Dear Prudence," which turns out to be a pretty standard rendition of the song (maybe because it was recorded for a BBC-1 radio show). Apart from that one track, Aerial Days elaborates on the lovely, jangly material found on their first release, and for this reason it can be seen as a kind of companion piece to the debut -- a chilly, resonating epilogue.

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