Album, Single and EP Reviews



  Mike Hastings EP by Mike Hastings

Mike Hastings EP cover art

Artist: Mike Hastings
Title: Mike Hastings EP
Catalogue Number: Lucky Number Nine Records
Review Format: 45
Release Year: 2008

A four track EP from denizen of the west end of Glasgow and member of The Pendulums, Mike Hastings, this record harks back to the days when the Incredible String Band walked the earth and cross legged troubadours could sing songs about Gryphons and cups of tea without fear of derision. Due in part to the labours of Devendra Banhart and the rediscovery of such talents as Vashti Bunyan there is now a so called "weird folk" scene and songs such as these are once again safe to stand up and deliver. Featuring himself on acoustic guitar or banjo with Solveig Askvik helping out on fiddle, Hastings has made a record which, whilst displaying his influences, stands on its own two feet.

Opening song "Spiral" is the standout track here. The guitar, vocals and pizzicato fiddle are reminiscent of Robin Williamson (of the Incredible String Band) on a song which could have graced any of their early albums. Second tune, "Gryphon" displays an American influence, shucking in like the Holy Modal Rounders although without their amphetamine rush.  "Morning Tea" resumes the Williamson thread while the lyrics sit squarely in that whimsical, Edward Lear type domestic surrealism that was so typical of British folk psychedelia. The guitar here however has a bluesy Bert Jansch influence. The record ends with "Small Horses," with Hastings' vocals almost scatting over the dervish like fiddle.

The record is available from Lucky Number Nine Records as a limited edition 7" vinyl single - the third release in their Seven Inch Club series - bundled with a CDR of the same songs for those Luddites still stuck in the digital age.
Review Date: March 19 2008