George Ward
George Ward

Freelance journalist based in Bristol. Can be found at the Grain Barge, Rough Trade or in his tiny basement bedroom writing for CLUNK.

Label: Heavenly Recordings

Rating: 5 out of 5.

London indie-folk 6-piece Tapir! release their second EP and continue to weave their gorgeous mythical tales in one of the year’s most beautiful releases yet.

Last year saw a surprise highlight emerge from the undergrowth. ‘Act 1 (The Pilgrim)’ appeared on my computer sounding vulnerable, beautifully produced and wonderfully warm. Behind this project was a very strange band called Tapir!, who were donned in red papier mache helmets somewhat resembling the animal. 

Now, in a continuation of the story, the band have dropped ‘Act 2 (Their God)’, the second part of a trilogy of EPs set to build into one full album this year. While it seems somewhat unsatisfying to review one part of a full project, it feels too contained and exciting to not talk about. 

The EP opens with a gorgeous spoken word passage from Little Wings before soft folk instrumentation fuses with nature field recordings. Most likely an interlude track in the full project, it works perfectly as an introduction, easing us into this new chapter.

‘Broken Ark’ introduces new textures. The track is backed by melancholy arpeggios and Ike Gray’s fragile and unique vocals leading the way. Distorted guitars sometimes quietly show their faces before fading back into the quiet soundscape. The track subtly builds up before almost all is stripped away, leaving only Gray’s voice remaining. 

‘Gymnopédie’ is a wonderfully creative play on Satie’s classical piece, transformed into a jazzy, emotional and dense highlight on the EP. As the instrumentation swells in the last section, the effect is genuinely otherworldly. ‘Eidolon’ is a more simple but no less beautiful folk ballad that rounds things off incredibly satisfyingly.

This folk instrumentation, when paired with the cryptic storytelling of the project, makes this small EP feel a whole lot grander than it should be. I will let you unpack the odyssey tale yourself, lyric by lyric and act by act as it is a really rewarding listening experience.

It will leave you hanging on for the conclusion of the trilogy and desperate to see how all the acts will flow into one another as a cohesive project. Tapir! continue to prove themselves to be one of the most underrated and creative bands currently making music.