He’s more recognisable for appearances in TV comedies such as Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace and The IT Crowd, but this Bedford-born son of the Shire with the James Mason enunciation and Tomorrow People wardrobe belongs in prog’s golden era.
Split between his comical pursuits and a love of rural folk, Matt Berry’s fourth album Kill The Wolf is no laughing matter. Reprising motifs from 2011’s rustic DIY release Witchazel, references to The Wicker Man, Kevin Ayers and Mike Oldfield are immediate.
But Berry’s songwriting nous prevents this being mere homage. Capturing that epoch’s warmth and whimsy, tracks such as the twinkling nine-minute Solstice suite and harmony-drenched October Sun are surprisingly touching for a man sporting a Carry On Screaming-style hairy hand on the cover.
This is Berry in a nutshell; the studious, self-taught multi-instrumentalist who can’t help throwing an impish curveball now and again. Devil Inside Me (essentially Witchazel’s Rain Came Down sieved through Dreadlock Holiday) sums it up. ‘Hello, yes, I’m not too sure who I’m meant to be, do you want me to be the priest or the adversary?’
When it’s this good, he can be whoever he likes.