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Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts - How Snakes Eat

  by Adrian Huggins

published: 13 / 5 / 2010

Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts - How Snakes Eat
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Offbeam folk pop on challenging, but compulsive second album from London-based band Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts

Originally the drummer with indie favourites Television Personalities, Matthew Sawyer returns with his band, the Ghosts, to provide the follow-up album to 2007’s ‘Blue Bird's Blood'. At the other end of the spectrum with this slab of British folk, edging away from his old job significantly and even referencing his other album in ‘Revenge of the Extra from Zulu’, Sawyer voices his views on the way people have viewed him in the passed. Equipped with a very unique voice Sawyer has been described as an English Tom Waits. While vocally I can not say that in my opinion he sounds anything like him, he definitely has some of that life-lived Waits spirit which cuts through everything and really makes him who he is. Musically ‘How Snakes Eat’ has a similar combination of innocence, playfulness and mild insanity as the music on Syd Barrett, particularly on ‘To Pour like English Taps’ and ‘Diamonds’. It is, however, slightly more straight up and not as on the surface as kooky as Barrett. The music is very gentle and seems to take its own time on things, Sawyer coming across as being like an small arty child who won’t budge for anyone as he’s painting some unintelligible picture. ‘Caroline’ begins with what sounds like monks doing some sort of rain dance and is reminiscent of 'Yellow Submarine' Beatles. With its male choir style vocals dropping in and use of both synthesisers and strings, it takes on more of an edge and move away from the pure folksiness of other songs on the album. With a slight withering in Sawyer's voice at times it sounds like he may just not be able to hit the note he’s aiming for, but he somehow carries it off in a mystical English way. This album sounds like something that was concocted in a country garden shed somewhere in Oxfordshire and would definitely appeal to those people out there who have little concerns with this horrible modern world. ‘How Snakes Eat’ is an at times challenging album, but beautifully aware of its self throughout is also totally compulsive.

Track Listing:-
1 Myna Bird Calls
2 Diamonds
3 Revenge Of The Extra From Zulu
4 She, The Farry Tree
5 The Bully Died
6 There Is No Royal Road
7 To Pour Like English Taps
8 Caroline
9 Chicory
10 Blue Birds Blood
11 About A Whale Song

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Interview (2007)
Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts - Interview
Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts have produced one of the finest debut albums of the year with the punky Folk Country 'Blue Bird's Blood'. Neil Palmer chats to Sawyer, who is both a working artist and the former drummer with the Television Personalities, about his music and his art

live reviews

Legal Tender, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club, London, 6/1/2007
Mathew Sawyer and the Ghosts - Legal Tender, Bethnal Green Working Men's Club,  London, 6/1/2007
In the woefully inappropriate surroundings of the Legal Tender night at the the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, Neil Palmer watches former Television Personalities' drummer Mathew Sawyer play a vulnerable, but emotive solo set to promote his and his band the Ghosts new album 'Blue Birds Blood'


Blue Birds Blood (2007)
Heartbreakingly honest and fresh-sounding lo-fi debut album from former Television Personalities drummer Mathew Sawyer and his new band the Ghosts

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