You need a bit of nerve, confidence and ‘sure fuck it’ attitude to release music at the end of December, when everyone’s already binged on their end-of-year Listmas albums, cramming Celebrations into their mouths and dodging Covid like an X-Wing on a Death Star mission.
But among the festive din, Barry Murphy, aka The Last Sound sent out a self-described “seasonally, twinkly” time out in the form of new EP An Air So Fine. You get your twinkles over three tracks of kosmische prog that’ll add a psychedelic sparkle to the first few days of 2022. It opens with the almost hymnal title track that nods to Can at their most spiritual, while ‘Temporal Mirage’ is a serene lo-fi pop track with a chiming, choral breakdown.
The majestic highlight is ‘AASF Chimes Ritual’, a stretched and shapeshifting 13-minute mutation of the title track, with the repeat-repeat riffs and Jamie Davis’s colossal drum layers landing like a benevolent and festive version of Swans in full flow, Michael Gira full of brandy & Baileys rather than self-loathing sex fever dreams. And like the best Swans passages, the downbeat could knock you back for an hour and still feel like it’s doing you the world of good.
All proceeds go to Irish housing and homeless charity the Peter McVerry Trust.