London’s Spy From Moscow, aka Declan Feenan, provides us with a downtrodden slow groove with Little War EP, a selection of songs that showcase the ease with which he seems to write enduring music.
The eerily beautiful opening track 'Little War' peeks its head around the door cautiously, with Feenan’s voice hushed, accompanied only by some subtle effects and a lone, soft electric guitar. As more instruments come in, the background gets muddier and deeper despite the simplistic melody and backing, allowing Feenan’s tale of inevitable struggle to progress. It would have been nice to linger on the sparsity a little longer, but that isn’t to say the introduction of brass instruments wasn’t in some way necessary. The build-up allows Feenan to let out cries of anguish, and when dying down again, the space is once again highlighted deftly.
'It Never Comes', a harmonica-driven slow rock anthem, appears to show Spy From Moscow’s true inspirations a little clearer. Neil Young seems to have a strong hold over the track, from the thumping percussion to Feenan’s wails toward the end, and it’s not surprising to hear that Tom Waits is another influence. It knows its place, and Feenan fits into it easily. Again, it would be interesting to hear a more low-key version of the song, however Feenan displays a knack for memorable melodies and beguiling lyrics with a track that definitely benefits from multiple listens.
'Persephone' is a perfect mixture of the previous two tracks: everything feels perfectly weighted. Nothing drags, nothing is gone too soon and most importantly, its identity is definite. As the EP's concluding song, 'Persephone' achieves exactly what it sets out to do.