Laura Sheeran’s Music For The Deep Woods EP was one of the most striking domestic releases of 2010, showcasing a dark, filmic sound infused with dread and menace. For a debut effort it was remarkable in its depth and its well-rounded aesthetic – no doubt aided by her membership (since she was 15) of the critically acclaimed Fovea Hex collective. Full-length follow-up Lust of Pig & the Fresh Blood doesn’t deviate too far from the blueprint either lyrically or musically: a natural progression in terms of what went before, it’s characterised by ominous atmospherics and unsettling themes.
Divided into two parts (‘The Fresh Blood’ and ‘Lust of Pig’), the record begins with the eerie ‘Walk Out With Me’, which sets the tone perfectly: “Walk out with me/We’ll part our ways/For what will be is right/You’ll see” sings Sheeran over sinister cello and backing vocals. This is followed by ‘Sally Please Don’t Go’, with a slowly swelling arrangement that recalls Radiohead’s ‘Pyramid Song’, while on ‘An Apple For You’ Clodagh Simonds adds her vocals to what sounds like the aural equivalent of a Grimm Brothers fairytale. ‘I’m Sorry Son’ is a particular standout, with an understated, yearning vocal from the Galway-born singer, hypnotic ukulele and stunning violin from Cora Venus Lunny.
Lust of Pig.. is almost unrelentingly dark in tone, but that’s not to say that it lacks variation. Tracks like ‘Take Me Where She Sleeps’ and ‘Computer Receive’ build towards intense, dramatic climaxes, while in the second half of the album there’s a notable shift towards electronic loops and abrasive sound effects on ‘Lust of Pig’ and ‘A Wake’. Closing track ‘To Carry My Bones’ certainly doesn’t add much in the way of respite or resolution, conveying some pretty unnerving imagery: “You use your heart in an unusual way, to carry my terror home/ But still I wake to face the day, and my body won’t carry my bones”. It’s a compelling image that’s typical of the depth and attention to detail Sheeran applies to her craft.