From somewhere wild and strange in Cornwall come the idiosyncratic acoustic sounds of We Are Muffy, the happy alliance of Nick Duffy (The Lilac Time, Bait) and Angeline Morrison (The Mighty Sceptres, The Ambassadors of Sorrow).
With influences including the Incredible String Band, Tyrannosaurus Rex, Sam Cooke, Max Romeo and Shirley & Dolly Collins weaving through their music, We Are Muffy spin poetic narratives of remembered and imagined pasts. Their distinctive strain of folk music combines vocal harmonies with unexpected instrumentation (lyre, music box, cutlery, bottle tops, broken china), in amongst the expected (autoharp, banjo, double bass).
It all began when Nick asked Angeline to provide some guest vocals on his Simulacra Two album (2016) – a collection of unorthodox covers. Whilst lively debate ensued on the themes of folk song and cover versions, it soon emerged that they shared a common homeland – Birmingham. In scenes reminiscent of the industrial heyday of this city they began to turn out song upon song depicting the peculiarities of growing up there.
"Frosted Candy" is a love song to the delights of colour, of texture, and the delicious mysteries of the adult world that reveal themselves upon discovery of the makeup counter at the local chemist. A joyful song that captures the uncertain balance between appearance and identity, outward poise and inward angst performing an intricate dance in a miniature bildungsroman.
"Milk Bar" depicts everyday life on the furthest reaches of the 56 bus route, back when Spaghetti Junction was still being built, somewhere just over the horizon. When you were just as likely to go to Elmdon Airport as the Beaufort cinema if you were a teenager looking for light entertainment.
Recorded in Nick’s garden studio – once a suburban double garage, now inaccessible by motor vehicle due to encroaching foliage – "The Charcoal Pool" is replete with the sounds of the neighbourhood. Crows, robins and seagulls all put in an appearance, as does the rain on the skylights and the trains on the adjacent branch line.
You may have already heard We Are Muffy on BBC 6 Music, BBC Introducing and BBC Radios 2 & 3. They can be found at various festivals during the summer months. Catch them if you can, they are quite shy.
"...the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later and thus we don't have complete emotions about the present, only about the past".