Pip Mountjoy – Ursus Arctos

pmuaWhy, what’s this delightful package that has arrived on my desk? Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No! It’s the magnificent new EP from the incredibly talented Pip Mountjoy. (I got there in the end, sorry) Beautifully hand-made and fully-equipped with a wonderful image, and something nabbed straight from the dictionary, on the cover, this EP is even more delightful on the ear than it is on the eye.

Pip is able to combine a range of acoustic guitar styles with her effortlessly brilliant voice to create the most incredible aural tapestries you’ll ever hear. With a fuller sound than on previous EPs, courtesy to fantastic production and an expertly assembled band, opening track ‘The Killing Kind‘ is certainly the stand out contender as a single due to the contrasting mood between verse and chorus. Whilst verses may be somewhat mellow, and even rather haunting, Pip’s voice fills with emotion and dedicated each time the chorus come around and each last detail makes the song even more irresistible. She also makes it rather clear that she isn’t a fan of smalltalk. Still, lovely weather we’re having!

Riverbed‘ is a much more solemn affair as we’re treated to a brilliant show of the depth of Pip’s ability whilst she follows in the footsteps of some of the greats of acoustic music. This is swiftly followed by the warmth of a full band sound on ‘Oceans Of Old‘ and it is in the band setting that I much prefer her style. Though the solo sounds may be more emotional and intense, Pip seems likes a natural born leader and she guides her collection of excellent musicians through an excellently crafted track, leading the line with her delightful Yorkshire accent shining through proudly.

Closing things off is the 8 minute epic ‘Part I & II‘ which tells stirring tales and once again shows off everything that is wonderful about Pip as both a singer and musician. It’s hard not to become entirely gripped thanks to her wonderful ability to spin yarns and there are plenty of sparks of lyrical excellence to show that she is well and truly poetic by nature. THis is the absolute masterpiece on Ursus Arctos and it has the ability to bring even the most hard-nosed listener close to tears. From the construction to the delivery, this is truly a work of art that will invoke emotions from the deepest, darkest regions of your soul.

You won’t hear a better 4 track EP than this in 2014. I know I’ve said similar things before but, honestly, there is something so special about this release that words simply cannot even begin to describe.

Ciaran Steward

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