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Features / Direction for losers, say equine DIY rockers

Brundlehorse guitarist Tirval Scott.

SHETLAND music’s prolific recent catalogue of rock releases has been augmented even further with a new EP courtesy of local noiseniks Brundlehorse.

The group, who currently consist of guitarist/vocalist Tirval Scott and bassist/vocalist Stephen Ferguson following the recent departure of drummer Harley Gear, unleashed their debut effort Direction Is For Losers in late December.

The five-track DIY effort is an original sound within Shetland’s music spectrum, with fuzzy, lo fi dirt and a cartwheeling punk ethos chucked into a blender with flourishes of experimentation and cloudy melody.

Brundlehorse accept that some locals might not digest their tunes too smoothly – but it’s not something they really care about.

“I think a lot of people are used to hearing polished music in Shetland, but that’s not what we’re going for,” Ferguson said. “Most of the bands I like, even the ones signed to major labels, don’t sound polished – because they don’t want to. There’s a lot of bands with that sound down south but in Shetland it’s kind of unique.

“Some people might not ‘get it’, but the more we play, the more people might start to click. I think there’s too much hard rock and metal and covers bands in Shetland. We offer something different, even if it’s not everyone’s cup of tea.” 

Direction Is For Losers, which is concluded by a nine-and-a-half-minute instrumental opus, was recorded between October and December in Sumburgh and it has been released in conjunction with Glasgow based Fuzzkill Records.

So who has inspired the busy minds of Brundlehorse? “We have a lot of similar influences,” said Scott, who also heads the currently dormant Poison Popcorn.

“It turns out we like most of the same bands, which is a new one for me. Usually I’m boring the sh*t out of people telling them about bands. There’s stuff like Fugazi, Shellac, Sonic Youth, Deerhoof, The Wedding Present, My Bloody Valentine…”

“It tends to be bands we were birthed out of,” Ferguson added. “80s and 90s hardcore that went somewhere different, post-punk and what then became – it’s an awful word – shoegaze. Bands that came out of indie and hardcore but went somewhere different with it. But we don’t aspire to sound like any one band.”

The EP can be downloaded for free via the group’s Bandcamp page, whilst physical copies should land in due course. Some acts may baulk at giving away their music for no cost, but Scott feels that it merely “casts the net wider”.

Its release capped off a relatively successful 2013 for Brundlehorse, who played at events such as Oxjam and supported, on numerous occasions, similar-minded acts visiting from Scotland. And its the friendships forged from the latter that are set to see the band dip their toes into the mainland market in the future.

“We hope to play down south,” stated Ferguson. “Pinact, who we supported last year, will put us on. We’re just trying to amass people that like the music and then make more.”

The artwork for Brundlehorse's DIY-recorded EP.

However, before the band can think about gigging south – or indeed in Shetland – the pressing matter of a vacant drum stool needs addressed. “Harley is going to concentrate on Quantana and Scaldin Bragg, and a new metal project that is more to his liking. We’re very appreciative of the work that he put in. He didn’t really like the style of music and he stuck at it.”

Brundlehorse are pretty unique in the contemporary Shetland scene at the moment – furrowing a path rarely tread in the isles – and for the purposes of variation, its seems pertinent that they secure another drummer to keep their misfit juices flowing.

“If there’s a bit of diversity from hard rock, metal and folk then it’s not a bad thing,” Ferguson surmised. “People might not like what we do, but they can’t be p*ssed off at the fact that we’re trying to do something different.”

Chris Cope