The new album from Keiron Phelan, Peace Signs, is the sort of thing that should charm both fans of The Incredible String Band and acolytes of The Jazz Butcher. Out today on Gare Du Nord, the release is tuneful and elegant chamber pop of the very highest order.
Opener "New Swedish Fiction" excellently mines a vein of indie similarly mined by acts like the current line-up of The Lilac Time and The Divine Comedy. Keiron has a way with this sort of stuff, expertly blending the strings and samples around simple, clear hooks. "Satellite Hitori" is spry and playful, while the title cut is an amped-up run at The Clientele. Elsewhere, "Apple Shades" chimes beautifully, Phelan here veering into territory that's very nearly chamber music. "Ain't She Grown" is the sort of thing that Stephen Duffy would love to keep writing, while the fun "Hippy Priest" is Britpop filtered with flashes of early Seventies folk rock, contributions from the wonderfully-ubiquitous Ian Button helping here and elsewhere.
Keiron Phelan has seemingly made one of the best albums on Gare Du Nord so far, and that's quite a compliment. Making this look so easy, he has here straddled a few sub-genres with a real deftness of touch. Peace Signs should please fans of The Kinks, The Lilac Time, and early Prefab Sprout.
Peace Signs is out today via Gare Du Nord Records.
More details on this album and other releases from the label via the Gare Du Nord Facebook page.
[Photo: Annie O'Rourke]