South-London-based 6-piece Tapir! have today shared the video for ‘My God’ and announced details of the release of their album, ‘The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain’, which is out on Friday 26th January 2024.
Produced and engineered by Hywel Pryer and Honeyglaze’s drummer Yuri Shibuichi and citing a host of artists from Eiko Ishibashi to Jim O’Rourke as discrete inspirations, ‘My God’ hints at far-out fantasies; tickling the fringes of doledrum day-to-day and is the first track to be taken from the Act III EP, the final of the three acts which make up their debut album.
As with the previous acts, ‘My God’ continues to tell the tale of ‘The Pilgrim’ and acts as a prologue to the tale – The Pilgrim learning the history of their land, in which the cracking of a gigantic mysterious egg led to the yolk-soaked desolation of the landscape.
However, the song also feels like an alternative conclusion: as if the narrator and listener are waking from a dream into an even stranger reality loaded with commercial branding and gadgetry (Hugo Boss, Maybelline, a £2000 laptop) after our travels in and out of the Nether.
The track is also accompanied by a beautiful mixed-media video directed by Los Angeles based artist collective ‘Everything Is Terrible’’ which visually tells the tale behind the song with a mixture of found footage and playful Claymation.
‘From atop a green hill, The Pilgrim did hear a call from the distance. Their people are near. Towards the tall mound The Pilgrim must set, carrying only this sack, into the Nether…’
And so begins Act I of Tapir!’s debut album, The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain, a multiform record that owes as much to folk art and folklore as it does to alt-folk experimentation.
The South London six-piece – Ike Gray (vocals/guitar), Will McCrossan (keys/drum machine), Tom Rogers-Coltman (guitar/saxophone), Ronnie Longfellow (bass), Emily Hubbard (cornet/synth) and Wilf Cartwright (drums/cello) – describe Tapir! as a ‘boiling together’ of different mediums: at once musical, theatrical, mythological, artistic, collaborative, narrative-led and, above all, something to be enjoyed and shared.
The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain follows a three-act structure – released by Heavenly Recordings as three four-track EPs – telling the story of a solitary traveller, an ambiguous red creature known as The Pilgrim, on a journey across a mythical landscape of eerie forests, stormy seas and unholy mountains populated by beasts, injured birds and idealised eidolons. A fantastical offbeat fable carried along by Gray’s crisp, heartfelt vocals and the band’s instinctive, idiosyncratic melodies, the project at times feels like the musical equivalent of the paintings of Henry Darger, Henri Rousseau or Philip Guston.
With The Pilgrim, Their God and the King of My Decrepit Mountain, Tapir! have proven they are more than technically adept at transporting the listener to another realm. You could read the whole album as being an escape from the trappings of the modern material world, a sidestep into a pre-industrial, pre-internet wonderland where creativity and community reign supreme. The narrator of ‘My God’ might suggest to us ‘Maybe it was Maybelline that put you at a loss/That’s my God’, but for Tapir! it is imagination itself that is king.
↓ ALBUM TRACKLISTING ↓
1. Act I (The Pilgrim)
2. On A Grassy Knoll (We’ll Bow Together)
4. The Nether (Face To Face)
5. Act II (Their God)
6. Broken Ark
9. Act III (The King of My Decrepit Mountain)
11. My God
12. Mountain Song
Finally, having appeared at the End of the Road, Sea Change, Visions, Dot to Dot and Kite festivals and played alongside Black Country New Road over summer, Tapir! who played a sold-out Act II launch show at the Avalon Café in SE London, play the below forthcoming shows, including a headline run in Spring next year and their biggest show to dare at London’s Kings Place.