Sometimes an album comes from so far out that it’s difficult to know where to start. Sodden Dogs & Blind, Winged Horses is one such – a beast of a double CD – that one might compare with Comus or Principal Edward’s for its scope and imagination. Duir is as much a collective as a band. At its heart are Terry Welbourn, Simon Brighton and Stephen Coalwood who rejoice in the nicknames of TEKH, TEMPLAR and COMPUTER respectively – there are reasons for them but they are beyond the scope of this review. All three have a long history in music and Terry and Simon are both authors.
The music on Sodden Dogs & Blind, Winged Horses derives from the stories and folklore of rural Lincolnshire in which past and present are inextricably mixed but more so, perhaps, from the landscape of the county. Many places and landmarks are woven into the story. Duir describe themselves as folk-rock but that doesn’t do them justice. Let me try to give you a flavour of the album.
The first disc opens with a gentle acoustic guitar introduction, ‘Larking Around At The Bowthorpe Oak’, which leads into the prog-rock of ‘Hills Of Slain’, telling the story of a civil war battle. Next is another short instrumental, ‘The Cocked Hat Plantation’, and now the story really starts. ‘Loki Had Been Drinking’ is a spoken word piece over a complex arrangement explaining how Loki, Norse god of mischief, traveled to Lincolnshire, got drunk and caused havoc. His story crops up now and again throughout the record and, if Duir are to be believed, he is still making mischief.
Then we move on to traditional customs with ‘Ran-Tan-Tan’ a raucous interpretation of rough music featuring stentorian vari-sped vocals by Stephen and in a rather lighter vein we have ‘A Dry Doddington Pig Song’. The second disc includes a reference to the Whittlesey Straw Bear in ‘Fen’, essentially a solo by Edgar Broughton, no less, with a very odd accent and ‘I Dream Of Shony’, thoughts on an ancient beer pouring ceremony. There is a tune inspired by the Sterigot radar station and a song about the alchemist John Dee who was once rector of Leadenham church. The final song, ‘The Drift’, concerns Victor Hugo who supposedly visited the county when in exile.
Sodden Dogs & Blind, Winged Horses is definitely off the wall. It’s more prog than folk with reality and fiction mixed up almost randomly and it’s big, powerful and great entertainment. What a find!
Artists’ website: www.duir1.bandcamp.com
Go to the website to hear excerpts from the album.