‘An Eroding Song’
‘Eight Split Knuckles’
Spookyland is 19 year old wunderkind Marcus Gordon. The smear of facepaint on the album cover the EP does seem to back up his Bowie hero claim in his bio, but his debut is a pared-back affair. Killin’ One Bird With Two Stones is an ambitious EP. Gordon’s poetically charged tunes do vary on the EP, shifting from delta blues numbers to drawn out folk narratives (…track four clocks in at 8:21). While I was too quick to dismiss him as a whingy emo parading in alt country clothing at first listen, this EP definitely grew on me after a few spins.
Opener ‘An Eroding Song’ begins with a chord progression that gives a nod to Mazzy Star’s Fade Into You, before branching out into a dreamy cowboy type waltz, harmonica in tow. It’s a nice big eyed track that works in line with Gordon’s lyrical knack. While there are the obvious Dylan-type verbalizations going on in ‘Dizzy Blues’ and ‘Ballad of the Dead Doctor’, the bluntness of ‘Failures’ echoes a Daniel Johnston b-side at best. Much like the famed 1990 incident where a bipolar fit led Johnston to throw ignition keys out of a small aeroplane window mid air, Gordon’s moods are also somewhat erratic. Melancholic laments like ‘Ballad of the Dead Doctor’ do float around without much landing ground, but Spookyland’s unsettledness does have an odd charm about it.
I would have liked to hear more songs on this release like ‘Eight Split Knuckles’ that deliver more of Gordon’s wit. There’s a tune on his myspace ‘Holy Hookers’ that didn’t make the EP cut either that’s also worth a listen. Spookyland seems more at home on these jangly spag. western jaunts than on the ballads that comprise the latter half of the EP, but that’s just my two cents worth. Overall, a solid effort that packs heaps of character. It took two or three few spins, but there is no denying Gordon’s abilities. Looking forward to hearing a full album release in the near future.
Spookyland will be launching the Killin’ One Bird With Two Stones EP at the Sandringham Hotel, Newtown tomorrow night (6th November) with Panzer Queen & Desire The Horse.
Killin’ One Bird With Two Stones EP is out now through Code One/MGM.