The Cutty Wren EP

A 3 track electronic ep (15m 53s) — released April 9th 2021 on Gare du Nord Records

The Cutty Wren by Helen McCookerybook (whimsy of Vashti Bunyan, zesty harmonies of France Gall) and analogue synthesist master Willie Gibson (stomping synths of the Art of Noise, hints of elegiac Wakeman), is an eclectic three track EP that nods to folk, electronica and prog rock, whilst artfully assimilating McCookerybook's soul-mining vocals, graceful harmonies and wit.

The title track is a genre-bending rendition of "The Cutty Wren", with hints of The Wicker Man soundtrack, fused with the superlative synths of Tangerine Dream. Variously described as a traditional English folk song or attributed to the English Peasants Revolt of 1381, Gibson's synth version of "The Cutty Wren" overlaid with McCookerybook's vocals "which sound like an angelic cavalcade" (Louder Than War), evoke classic Judy Collins and at eight minutes it is perfectly timed for the reverie it provokes.

In "Emerald Leaves", McCookerybook's crystal clear vocals soar over the dreamy cascades of Gibson's pulsating synths, whilst deceptively languorous harmonies are wrapped around lyrics that hint at environmental dis-ease. The final song "Fatberg" is a complete gear change, with Gibson's jaunty vibes peppered with McCookerybook's wicked subversion of a Superhero refrain: a playful pop ditty about the sinister subterrain beneath our very feet.

A pioneering British She Punk in the early 80s, Helen McCookerybook's talent, wit and verve continue to be recognised with her latest solo album Pea Soup (03/2020) gaining critical applause in MOJO. McCookerybook's latest release the EP Equal Parts (12/2020), a musical collaboration with émigré Viennese Indie pop luminary Robert Rotifer was played on 6Music and the Pete Paphides show. John Peel favourite Helen McCookerybook has released seven solo albums to date, and will be releasing a solo album at the end of 2021.

Initially a trumpet player who toured with Soul artists in the late 60's and 70s, Willie Gibson began working as producer/music publisher in the 80s, producing synth-based albums with Tim Cross (Mike Oldfield) and Derek Austin (The Gass). Working on a Fairlight CMI (only the seventh sold in Europe), led to work with Madness and Red Box. Gibson's releases include Vivaldi: Seasons Change, a modular synth realisation of Vivaldi's most famous work and the mini-album Saint-Ex (2019), an electronic odyssey and homage to Saint-Exupéry.

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