Draw the curtains, light the fire, press play again and bask in Loner Deluxe’s warm glow – Neill Dougan gets Snowed Under

This winter, eh? Dark mornings, dark nights, the cold and the endless, endless bloody rain. It’s enough to make a man depressed. What one needs, really, to get one through these bleak months, is the comfort of some warm, fuzzy folk-tronica, as reassuring as a thick blanket and a hot cup of cocoa.

Hooray, then, for Galway’s Keith Wallace – aka Loner Deluxe – who delivers just that in the form of ‘Snowed Under’, a three-song EP or – as it’s advertised – a ‘digital cassingle’ (whatever the frig that is). Brief it may be at just under 12 minutes long, but the three atmospheric tracks on ‘Snowed Under’ will have you reaching for the repeat button throughout the long, dark evenings.

Opener ‘Winter’s Last Fire’ combines a languid, slo-mo breakbeat and a spoken word sample about a UFO sighting with a delicate acoustic guitar figure and the distinctive vocals of Rusted Rail stalwart Cecelia Danell, to great effect. A chiming, simple keyboard part makes its presence felt from the midpoint of the song onwards and is quite delightful – and is that some understated scratching we hear? Excellent. There isn’t nearly enough scratching on records these days.

‘Holding Pattern’ is an altogether more sombre affair, the very essence of a winter chill captured via a descending acoustic riff allied to a shivery beat and a disembodied female voice apologising for her mistakes before signing off with a jarringly cheery “Anyway, have a nice night…goodnight”. It’s enough to give you goosebumps.

Last song ‘We Saw No Stars’ returns to the UFO theme via another spoken word sample, accompanied this time by a quite lovely, reverb-laden electric guitar part, as welcome and comforting as a great big hug.

And, as quickly as it arrived, that’s the EP (sorry, ‘cassingle’) done. If it all veers dangerously close to ‘trip-hop’ territory – well, is that really such a bad thing? Draw the curtains, light the fire, press play again and bask in Loner Deluxe’s warm glow. This winter could go on for a while yet.

http://www.rustedrail.com/lonerdeluxe2.html