Label: Idle Hands Release date: 18/10/10 Link: Myspace Buy: Amazon Ursine Vulpine is a multi-instrumentalist one-man band who also goes by the name of Freddie Lloyd, a university student from the county of Worcestershire. New EP Fenrir is a bountiful collection of wonderful loops, echoed guitar lines and soaring flute parts created, performed and put together by Lloyd. Almost entirely instrumental (partially due to Lloyd’s belief that he can’t really sing), this is a beautifully put together composition of parts that shows that music doesn’t have to conform to the traditional structure (intro, verse, chorus etc) to have an impact. Any vocals used on Fenrir are merely harmonising parts but this adds a very welcome touch of atmosphere and mystique. ‘Shadow Moses/Alaska’ starts promisingly enough with jangly, finger-picked guitar that leads you to believe this is a simple, plain folk record, but what Lloyd does very cleverly is to slowly interweave guitar, violin and banjo parts until there are three or four different parts all combining together to create an atmospheric, but also rhythmical sound that gets more and more dramatic as it builds up, almost like a film score. On ‘Raijin’, we hear Lloyd experiment with a more mournful tone, adding a more comprehensive orchestral structure to create a more exotic sound, and closing track ‘Bahamut’ perhaps the most expressive on the album, exploding into life about halfway through to create an epic and climatic end to a very impressive EP. The only criticism that could really be thrown at Ursine Vulpine and Fenrir is that each of the four tracks on the EP are very similar to each other. All four are made with the exact same structure at pretty much the same pace, with the only real difference being a subtle change of tone. ‘Shadow Moses/Alaska’ and ‘Eden’ in particular are very hard to distinguish from each other, even after three or four listens, and although the slightly more experimental ‘Raijin’ and ‘Bahamut’ differ slightly, they are still broadly speaking made up of the same structure. However, it is worth mentioning that this kind of minimalist experimentalism is hard to pull off, as it can very easily become a bit challenging to listen to, and kudos must go out to Ursine Vulpine for managing to make this a very pleasant and eminently listenable EP, especially at such a young age. Photobucket