‘The Loneliest Cowboy EP’
Track list –
1. The Loneliest Cowboy (3:33)
2. A Recluse Goes Ice Skating (1:58)
3. IYS (3:15)
4. Guess Who’s Back In Town (3:29)
5. Spelunking (Part 1) (4:30)
All playing, production and artwork by Daniel Hirst.
Mastered by Dave Blackman.
Self-confessed daydreamer, musician and producer Daniel Hirst, uses an alter ego pulled straight from the disturbed esoteric mind of David Lynch.
The man from another place appears in some of the more perplexing scenes from ‘Twin Peaks’, most memorably the walking backwards, cryptic clue dropping dwarf sequence, which leads to the eventual determining of the central character – Laura Palmer’s -killer.
Nothing on this 5 track EP quite matches the dark macabre tones and atmosphere of Lynch, instead we are treated to a warm glowing diaphanous soundtrack, purpose made for a film that never existed, yet feels so familiar.
‘The Loneliest Cowboy’ is all about invoking a certain welcoming nostalgia, which adheres to a re-appraisal in some of the themes found in the movies of wild west director titans like John Ford, Huston and Howard Hawks.
With the strange liquid like cowboy illustration on the EP’s front cover – that draws comparisons to the Beach Boys ‘Surf’s Up’ album, which features the world weary red Indian image based on the famous sculptor ‘End Of The Trail’ by James Earle Fraser – and the earnest photographs of a woodpile and old fashioned stove, Hirts projects a respectful affinity to the old west and the high plains of ‘The Searchers’ evocative landscapes.
All these instrumentals maintain a lingering and touching leitmotif throughout, one that can encompass the sounds and feel of Bacharach, Wilson and Morricone, without falling into the pratfalls of mere indulgence and parody.
No, Hirst cleverly transcends all his influences to produce a lost classic that could easily become something of a cult.
The title track waltzes along to sepia coloured images of late 19th century compatriots acting out a jaunty, but tragic, knock about story – ala ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’.
Trombones, or, French horns declare ethereal choral announcements of quite moving proportions; whilst plucked banjos and felicity performed piano make for a gentle opening theme tune.
‘A Recluse Goes Ice Skating’ perfectly encapsulates its title well on this enchanting glockenspiel led canter through a minor melodrama based opus. Soft, delicate and almost whimsical in parts, this pulchritude song often throws up assiduous moments of reflection and thought.
Haunting horns stir up visions of the unforgiving frontier, with sustained percussion, harpsichord and tingling xylophone on the mysteriously entitled ‘IYS’.
Both this song and the next, ‘Guess Who’s Back In Town’, could be lost excerpts from Brian Wilson’s ‘Smile’, with the redolent comforting story telling of Americas past through the sweeping lush tones, respondent to the descriptive melodies found in the tales of his most masterful work.
The final track ‘Spelunking (Part 1)’ – an American term for potholing – changes the mood entirely with its up-tempo move towards a poppier version of French troubadours Air, during their ‘1000htz’ period, as drum breaks and driving bass enter the fray for the first and only time.
Deft Fender Rhodes tones and space like aquatic duck sounds emerge from a dream sequence, played by a flowering harp, intro before settling into a breaks filled lament, that includes the main EP’s refrain delivered in an almost electro French pop like manner.
Hirst delivers a poetic tribute to some lost age, rich in the spoils of past film soundtrack maestros, whilst flirting with the big central themes envisioned by the greats, such as John Sturges and George Roy Hill, in all the best western movies.
Somehow a guy from Scotland manages to compose the theme tune to the now long disappeared essence and frontier history of America.