M.Stevens & The Ghasts announce debut album ‘Birds’
I saw you walking in the village, in the night
Your face was lit up like a tooth in UV light
So begins ‘Go Gracefully’, the poignant opener to M.Stevens & The Ghasts debut album, Birds. An imaginative songwriter, with a dazzling turn of phrase, Popical Island co-founder Mike Stevens has honed his craft across a string of Irish alt folk & indie pop bands – Groom, Skelocrats, Lie Ins and Settler.
Latest project M.Stevens & The Ghasts emerged in unexpected fashion. After the sudden death of beloved Silver Jews songwriter David Berman, a tribute night was organised in Dublin’s Sound House with various Irish indie luminaries taking to the stage to perform, including one Mike Stevens.
With an alchemy present from the off, Mike, Hugh McCabe (keys/mandolin) and guitarist Mark Jordan (Dudley Corporation) continued to collaborate, joined by bass player Ciaran Canavan (Land Lovers) and drummer Donagh O’Brien (A Ritual Sea, Sweet Jane).
Passing emails back and forth over the course of the pandemic, the album Birds began to take shape. Funded by the Arts Council’s Agility Award, recorded and mixed by composer/producer Stephen Shannon, the album is testament to the idiosyncratic perspective of Mike Stevens, and the musical sensitivity of the group.
The addition of flute and violin adds depth to the album’s more tender moments, while The Ghasts prove they can get loud and abrasive when required. True to form, Stevens is distinctly Irish in his specificity and candour, be it “winding up in Tubercurry”, or imagining the statues of O’Connell and Parnell in conversation.
Recent single In The Garden is an upbeat offering, and typical of M Stevens’s humorous style. Restaging a biblical story in a futuristic, science fiction setting, the lyrics twist and turn as they work toward a repeated question, “Are you my friend?” The video, directed by filmmaker Ian Cudmore along with keyboardist/mandolin player Hugh McCabe, contrasts with this in its simplicity of the band playing the song in a live room.
M Stevens & The Ghasts will perform live at Whelan’s Upstairs on November 17th, 2022 to celebrate the release of debut album ‘Birds’.