Impaled Peach: “Snug Rungs”

Snug Rungs cover art

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After 2010′s eclectic collection of infectious lo-fi psych-pop songs “Helicobbler”, and 2011′s adventurous and accomplished 17-track self-titled debut, The Impaled Peach aka E. A. Bartholomew aka Ed, is back with a 7-song mini-album called, “Snug Rungs”, so nifty and fitting a title that if you chant it over and over under your breath, it just about turns into a palidrome reflected in a circus mirror. As you can see, the cover art is leafy to look at, like that Animal Collective record, but without the migraine-inducing effects, and yes it hints at the folksy, natural rhythms that you will virtually find inside.

In fact, the more I think about it, even the simplest of record sleeves can sometimes inadvertently reveal more about a record than an artist might have intended. In Impaled Peach’s case, there is a certain synchronicity between image and sound – for “Helicobbler” see the somewhat psychedelic Dali-esque peachcopter as a reflection of the psych-pop hybrid content, and for the self-titled it’s ALL about the peach, big and bold and as perfect as possible, screaming for you to bite. “Snug Rungs” has got no peach there at all, rather it is a understated collection of leaves that blend into one another, continuous, hinting at the one long and fascinating takes on Mother Nature’s Son inside. There is no rampant Moonlight Sonata, or killer pop Same Mistake/Catch Us, but something much more subtle and intriguing happening instead. Make no mistake, this is not a concept album, but there is a continuity of style and substance and tone that makes you feel like all these songs are from the same branch on the tree.

One thing I love about every Impaled Peach record thus far is the attention to detail. As much as I’m a massive fan of fluffed notes, squeaky chairs, doors slamming in the background, singers giggling quietly in between verses, and generally anything that confirms that what you are listening to is reality, Ed is one of an elite band of DIY artists who make bedroom recordings sound flawless. Nothing leaves the production (bedroom/kitchen/basement) floor without being fine-tuned as close as possible to audio perfection. That’s not to say he doesn’t take chances with the sounds he’s conjuring up or the instruments he’s using. As minimalistic folk-pop as “Snug Rungs” is, the nature of all Impaled Peach recordings is that they are experimental, often mimicking the techniques of psychedelic giants of the past, such as the Olivia Tremor Control, the Beach Boys, even Jeff Mangum, but even more often they sound like they are attempting to try something new, just to see what happens. There are two kinds of experimental artists: those who let you hear it all hang out, capturing the very moment of inception on tape; and those who wade into the jungle of recordings, like musical Willy Wonkas, cutting back the foliage to get to the fruit of the matter. Ed is one of your Willy Wonkas.

I’m hard pressed to pick a stand out song from the seven, but if you put a water pistol to my head, then I’d have to say “Don’t Need The Sun”, a languid, melodic hymn of a song, like a souped up druggy “Times They Are A Changin”. Other worthy mentions are the opening “To Feel It Pound”, with its rhythmic chugging acoustic guitar lines and Beck-esque vocals, and “The River”, complete with its Garfunkel and Garfunkel harmonies, or Simon and Simon, whichever you prefer. Lyrically, “Snug Rungs” packs its expected poetic punch – try this from “The River”: “Learn that feet may mar Juturna’s spring with trampled dust debris / But wind will move the tarnished tide to sea / That though she flies, the cooing dove will never know to sing…” The words are nothing short of enigmatic, clearly penned by the same hand which so meticulously swings the editorial blade in the jungle of production. In fact, it’s perhaps my only grumble that at times I found myself wishing that lines were a little less sophisticated, and more in keeping with the stripped back earthy vibe of the record. But hey, psychedelia comes in all shapes and sizes, and it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if we were all singing Burroughsian cut-ups and the self-deprecating tales of our silly little lives, would it?

So there you have it. “Snug Rungs”. Suck it up while it’s there for free and the leaves are all turning golden and carpeting your autumnal path. There’s nothing surer that whatever Impaled Peach releases next is not going to sound anything like this one does. Who knows, maybe just maybe we’ll hear a chair squeak in the background, the cover will feature the return of the peach, and Ed will start singing nursery rhymes about his life. The beauty of it is that when you’re talking about Impaled Peach, then anything is peachily possible.

Also, check out the new Impaled Peach website, it’s real peachy too:




  • On 10.25.12 eabarth said:

    Thanks for the write-up! You so gracefully covered everything I intended with this EP and more.

    As for the sophisticated lyrics, well, every song here except “Don’t Need the Sun” was a poem I wrote in college. And “Mourning Doves” was my Edward Thomas-ian farewell to school. I only truly tested the waters of free verse after all that, but still find myself more at home in meter and rhyme. I’ve tried to put poems to music in the past, and the quality of the lyrics in song never sat quite right in my ear. But I finally decided to ignore that and embrace it as a tribute to those college days.

  • On 10.25.12 eabarth said:

    Oh, and thanks for complimenting my perfectionism, but in this case, I was really trying to just record raw and not fuss much. In fact, I wrote and recorded 90% of the album the weekend I released it.

  • On 10.25.12 smally said:

    WHAT!? A weekend? Jeez. I suppose it’s a case of “once you know what you’re doing…” Impressive anyhow.

    Yeah, that makes a lot of sense about the lyrics. They do read like poems, though from listening alone I doubt anyone would know that. It definitely works, but there are times when I feel a little lost trying to understand what you’re singing about. That said, I probably should have mentioned that I love the words of “…Pound”.

    Anyway, job well done.

  • On 10.26.12 Lenn9o9n said:

    great review and album is loaded w/ concentrated moments…and the fact he made it over the weekend (y)