It’s time for something that’s a little bit left-field and it honestly doesn’t get more left-field than the quirky, Canterbury-esque musings of The Weever Sands. When the subject matter is a troublesome week in the life of Phea the Pheasant then you know we are in for an idiosyncratic journey.
‘Secrets Of The Pecking Order’ is the third album by The Weever Sands and the press release certainly grabbed my attention!
“The album might be described as a small-scale fusion of Post-Rock minimalism and Canterbury style Prog, uses Zappa-like collage techniques, and features Armin Rave (ex-Pavor), Dyanne Potter & Jan Christiana (Octarine Sky/Potter’s Daughter), Geo Schaller (Ex-Guano Apes producer), and Leslie Penning (ex-Mike Oldfield, whose folky minimalism is an overall influence for us).”
The album follows the line of classical 70s concept albums in using an animal protagonist to tell a human (and here a slightly bizarre) story:
“Our third album tells the hilarious story of Phea the Pheasant and his troublesome week, transformed into a Post-Prog adventure with many influences from the Canterbury Scene. The Weever Sands are joined by fabulous musicians for the seven tracks – one track for each day – to present a listening experience crammed with folky-jazzy harmonies, melodious bass lines, strange audio drama, rapid rock solos, tons of different sounds, and lots of humour. Animals rule! Enjoy!”
See what I mean? Let me tell you why I think this album is one of the most entertaining releases of the year and one that will leave a huge grin on your face…
Individual, strange and off-the-wall are all words that could be used to describe this unique ‘post-prog’ release that deals with seven days in our protagonist, Phea’s life. The music is as distinctive and singular as the concept would lead you to believe and brings to mind the work of bands like Gong and The Cardiacs and modern artists like Emmett Elvin and Join The Din. Art Rock for the outsider? it certainly sounds like it with the story being told via wonderfully eclectic keyboards flute and some rather excellent, if mad as a box of frogs, guitar playing. Flute, sax, keyboards and even a recorder are used to maximum effect to give this musical experience a feeling of wonder and make believe, prog by Terry Pratchett? you wouldn’t be far wrong!
With track titles like Monday. Phea wakes early from a bad dream and ponders the saying ‘free as a bird’, glowing with disbelief and Friday. On the Nerd Bird to San José, Phea meets a fancy Tech Chick and messes it up completely this release stays on the right side of whimsy but is always tongue in cheek and the music has that pastoral England sound to it, hazy days and nostalgia leaking out of the wry amusement engendered in absolute spades. You really have to listen to the album in one sitting and in the right order to get the most from Phea’s troublesome week. Do that and you will enjoy a singularly unexampled jaunt into the furtive mind of one of the most imaginative and creative collectives I have ever heard.
I am trying not to disclose too much about the music here as I feel you need to discover the fine print involved for yourselves but you really must listen to this album at least once because then you can decide for yourself if it is utterly mad or utterly brilliant. I’ve listened quite a few times and definitely fall into the latter category, prog by Terry Pratchett it is indeed and, if you loved Pratchett’s books as much as me, then you’ll love this album too!
Released 3rd November, 2022.
Order the album here: