Little Red songwriter Ian Mitchell has released his debut solo album under the nom de guerre Master of None. The eponymous 10 track album takes influence from artists such as Ween, PJ Harvey, Tom Waits and Nick Cave. Although some of these artists also inspire Ian’s Little Red work, these influences are displayed more fiercely on Master of None. However this album doesn’t adhere to one genre, the common thread is the songs’ lyrical darkness, dealing explicitly with alcoholism, substance abuse, sex, debt, death and mental illness.
From the electronic slapping opening track ‘S.R.I.’ Mitchell takes us on a unique journey into his world which is quite the step away from Little Red’s style. ‘Let’s get fucked up’ and ‘Hunter’s Quarry’ twinkle through with delicate acoustic guitar, or piano for ‘Hunter’s Quarry’ and eerie vocals. His stripped back approach is chilling and quite ominous with some tender tones swirled throughout. It’s an experimental album with a lot of vocal personalities weaving between each track as Mitchell ventures down the Lo-fi avenue with his production. ‘Fluffy Bunnies and Unicorns’ makes good use of sticky electronics and pulsing beats concocting dark atmospheres between the obscure lyrics and spoken vocals. This electronic flow builds and progresses with each track on the album sometimes appearing tribal like in ‘Big Boots’ which also feature a traditional string element giving a Celtic jingle of warmth to the track .’Francis Bacon’s Bae’ and ‘Master of Nones’ are perhaps the most melodic tracks on the album with a waltz like string in the former and an elegant piano feature between trip hop beats and sorrowful vocals featuring in both tracks. The album takes a menacing turn with ‘Prick’. This heavy track is head-bang ready and a bit of a rush. With distorted guitars crashing and slicing through flashing electronics as repetitive lyrics attempt to hypnotize you through spoken vocals. There is a Marilyn Manson feel about ‘Husk’ while ‘The Gallows’ closes the album on a contrasting melancholic, bittersweet tone of delicacy.
It’s an obscure album which blends the eclectic, erratic and often sinister side of Mitchell’s musicianship. From elegant to mind crushing, each track takes you on a unique journey into the dark. With most of the tracks coming in at around the 2 minute mark they are brief haunting encounters filled with mystery, sinister themes and boozy ballads. Fantastic.
Stream ‘Francis Bacon’s Bae’ below