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Reviews / Review: EP is ‘brash, bold and boisterous’

LISTENING to Brundlehorse can be a somewhat unnerving experience. Maybe it’s the blunt guitar shreds, or the wayward vocals which can shriek and squeal when you least expect it.

But sometimes unnerving can be good, and the edge-of-your-seat, unpredictable nature of the local trio is a welcome shot in the arm of Shetland’s contemporary music scene.

The band – guitarist/vocalist Tirval Scott, bassist/vocalist Stephen Ferguson and drummer Sven McAlpine – are intrinsically DIY by nature, and their latest EP Shut Up And Eat Your Fire is another attack of lo-fi punk rock which stabs at the senses.

But hidden in the intentionally brash production is a knack for impressive songwriting; opener Sail, for instance, sounds a bit like mainstream rockers Biffy Clyro if they went a little twisted and apocalyptic, with some Beach Boys-esque ‘oohs’ juxtaposed against the grimy music, while there’s plenty of melodic nods through the other three songs too.

Mainman Scott has previously showed his worth in projects like the expansive, freethinking Poison Popcorn as he furrowed his own path in the local scene, citing the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Fugazi as inspirations.

Shut Up And Eat Your Fire is Brundlehorse’s second EP, following 2013’s Direction is for Losers, and it’s free to download online – “unless you’re rich, benevolent or feel any residual guilt over having killed the music industry”, they jest.

Second track Voids is more punk at heart, with runaway riffs conjoined with uptempo drums, while two-minute effort Birds sways with gurning bass runs before ending with a hand grenade of distorted riffola.

Closer Guns Make Better, meanwhile, ramps up the pace, and you can almost feel Scott’s saliva spitting out of the speakers onto your cheeks as he pours his heart – and voice box – into the microphone over a punked-up rhythm section.

The song takes left turns with discordant deviations and a hyperactive guitar solo before dissolving into its finale with creepy, haunting ruminations and cymbal strokes.

The song is, perhaps, a microcosm of Brundlehorse in three minutes and 47 seconds; it’s brash, bold and boisterous, but it’s bloody good fun too.

Chris Cope

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021