First coming to public attention with 2005’s “Normal For Bridgewater”, Bruntnell was initially categorized in the “alt-country” bracket, but his restless musical spirit has meant each successive album striking out in new directions. 2009’s “Peter And The Murder Of Crows”, filled with psychedelic drones and mellifluous tunes, was Americana Album Of The Month in MOJO Magazine and one of Q magazine’s Americana Albums Of The Year.
Peter’s albums feature strange tales of small town romance and big city isolation, the erosion of community and the wonders of family life, ticking all the right sonic boxes for a fiercely loyal fan base. Continuing his long-distance songwriting partnership with Vancouver lyricist Bill Ritchie, Peter has also gained the respect of his peers. If you ask the likes of Kurt Wagner, Peter Buck, Willy Vlautin, Jay Farrar or Kathleen Edwards, they all agree that he’s a writer with rare and mysterious qualities. In 2010, Bruntnell toured extensively with both Son Volt and Richmond Fontaine in both cases, at the request of the headliners.
Recorded in his home studio in Devon, “Black Mountain UFO” sees Peter finally making the great pop album he has always threatened to produce. It mixes West Coast harmonies with the requisite dab of psychedelia, all delivered in a characteristically British fashion (song titles name-check Reggie Perrin and Penelope Keith). The startling sleeve depicts the story which has emerged as the title track. After a series of therapy sessions involving hypnosis, Peter discovered he had been abducted by an alien spaceship, whose inhabitants instructed him to write the song. A psych masterpiece, it sits comfortably on the album alongside other new Bruntnell classics like “St Christopher” and “Bruise On The Sky”.
The most interesting thing about Peter Bruntnell’s music, and the reason for his devoted following, is the indefinable knack the songs have of locking into the listener’s emotions, but no one quite understands how or why. There’s no one else like him around, and now he’s made the perfect pop record.
Peter Bruntnell will play at Cleere’s at 9.30pm on April 19. Tickets are €12.