SLUG is the moniker used by North East England songwriter Ian Black, under which he puts out avant-pop productions that are as intriguing as they are difficult to describe. His 2015 debut album RIPE displayed an artist with a multi-faceted music and writing abilities, wriggling around in various different styles and instrumentation, creating an amorphous and beguiling whole. For his next act, SLUG will be releasing a new album, aptly called HiggledyPiggledy, on April 13th. It seems set to show Black in an ever starker and more out-there mode as he wrote, played and produced the entire album on his own this time.

The first taste of HiggledyPiggledy comes from the emphatic opening track 'No Heavy Petting'. It all starts with a subtle guitar and a modulated voice announcing "no heavy petting," before the song jerks us forward on cartwheeling percussion, with modulated synth tones streaming by as we hurtle on. SLUG sounds equally cunning and worn out as he leads us through secret passages of sound before guiding us back round to the big and brash guitar lick that rockets the song off again.

The song was inspired by Black trying to get in touch with his X-rated side, but didn't go quite the way he expected, as he explains:

""No heavy Petting" was kind of a task I gave myself to try and write a "sexy song," to see if I could do it. So I did a bit of research by turning on a music channel. I was drunk and I realised, while the synthesised marimba, bleeps and drum machines and images of young men and women grinding all over each other, that I'd probably left it a little too late at the age of 35. There's a little bit of dialogue spoken by computer within the song and this is an exaggerated take on how I felt when watching those videos of weak as p**s songs with soft core pornography paraded on them. "Can you just pack it in a minute, listen...leave each other alone and try and write a song...that's like...good?" Basically I'm now ancient."

Feel the effect of that realisation as it pulses out of 'No Heavy Petting', below.

We'll be getting a lot more of this kind of this punchy pop production on HiggledyPiggledy as Black promises that he had plenty of "fun writing truly horrible lyrics,” and “venting in pubs, writing in the character of how some people think and behave.” It comes out on April 13th via Memphis Industries and can be pre-ordered here.

Ahead of that you can keep up with SLUG on Facebook / Twitter.

SLUG will be touring in the summer at the following dates:

27 April – Leeds, Brudenell Social
29 April – Glasgow, The Hug and Pint
30 April – Manchester, Soup Kitchen
01 May – London, The Lexington
21 July – Deershed Festival