Technology can be a very sexy thing, and so can talent, and when a musician possesses both the result is instant prog-gasm. Enter Bird Radio, aka Mikey Kirkpatrick. The concept of the 'one man band' has recently been rescued from tambourine-kneed oddbods by uber-loopers like Matt Stevens, and Bird Radio contorts it into startling, dulcimer-pummelling shapes here.
The title track signals the conceit: baritone-voiced a capella folk morphs into Summerisle dance swirls, with sackbuts and everything. Bird Radio exists to wrong foot the punter. Nursery rhyme Who Killed Cock Robin? offers breathy Tull-tinged flute along with electronic loops, it’s like some steam-punk production line being used as the backing beat for the Pied Piper.
But Kirkpatrick is no mere purveyor of gimmicks. He creates alternative worlds, part seedy backstreet menace, part post-modern irony, part medieval Europe. London The Forest is hypnotic, playing off flute riffs that strike like vipers against laconic vocals and Lamb In My Giant Hand sounds like a 14th century farandole reworked by a mad scientist.
This album is a revelation. It makes the listener feel like they’ve been let in on a dangerous secret.