If your nature trivia isn't that good, then you might like to know that a curlew is a type of bird. With that out of the way, we'd like to introduce 'Curlews' – a song about curlews by Brighton-based Andrew Phillips and Marcus O'Dair aka Grasscut.

It gradually grows through heartwarming sounds and evocations of nature through flighty strings and cyclical arpeggiated melodies, accompanied by rich vocals that sing about the birds trailing their footprints in "the glittering estuary mud" (amongst other things). The beat kicks in, the strings sound more urgent; everything is suddenly kinetic, mirroring the curlews' previous promenade along the mud of the exposed shoreline and their disappearance, flying off into the sky. An organic, naturalistic sound, a kind of galloping, robust folk music, a summoning of Romantic sentiment through modern orchestration.

One half of the duo, Andrew Phillips, defends his use of birds in the themes and lyrics and imagery for the song:

"The poet Harriet Tarlo cautions against the lazy use of ornithological metaphors for human emotion, but watching the curlews on the estuary, I really thought: this is me, digging around in the mud till I find it. I hope that's not lazy."

It's the A-side of new single 'Curlews/September Night's Sky' taken from the duo's upcoming third album, Everyone Was A Bird. It's out in May via Lo Recordings, who are also offering a free download of 'Curlews'.

In addition, you'll find just a few live dates for Grasscut below.

  • Grasscut live dates:
  • April 13: Faber Social (with Robert Macfarlane), London
  • May 20: Rough Trade East, London
  • June 8: ‘Everyone Was a Bird’ album launch party at Electrowerkz, London
  • June 28: The Basement, Brighton
  • September 3-5: Festival No 6