A HAPPY RETURN
Google tells me that drashel is Dorset slang for a threshold or a flail, a piece of information which serves the precise purpose of telling me very little about this charming second record from A Happy Return, a familial project helmed by Spillage Fete/Bons co-founder Mat Fowler in which he's joined by his partner Aimee Henderson and their young daughter, Agnes Bell. Mysterious nomenclature is a recurring theme in the SF world (remember it was only last week we were discussing that Yammals tape by Speedbooth), and if it explains nothing then it does a fine job in adding an additional layer of intrigue to music that walks a thin line between the familiar and the uncanny. These 17 shortform tracks display a wonky debasing of folk composition, refiguring trad melodies into sometimes eerie, sometimes pretty shapes that, as a set, equates to something like chancing on a radio broadcast from a different era. Indeed, Drashel does appear to vibrate in anochronistic ways, speaking of another time and another language, perhaps pre-modern, seemingly appearing to belong to lore, of land. It's a similar feeling you might have gained from listening to Bons, of course because it's part of the same DNA, but also more widely Deux Fillies, the more pastoral instrumental parts of Another Green World, Woo et al. And yet here it is alive in the here and now, caught between worlds, in what i'm choosing to describe as electronic Pentanglement. That's my own shot at off-centre nomenclature, which you can take from me is infinitely less smart and endearing that what Fowler and family achieve with Drashel. Another winner from the Spillage Fete universe.