Music

Archie Shuttler’s ‘When the Heavy Breaks’ reflects an array of alt-folk influences

London-based singer-songwriter Archie Shuttler has made a return with a new album, When the Heavy Breaks. While the wordplay comes thick and fast, it’s not afraid to deal with darker issues.

Archie Shuttler is somewhat of a chameleon on the London scene, trading under pseudonyms for much of his career. Now under the banner of his own name, he’s released an album that reflects his honest approach to songwriting.

Yet, he doesn’t completely do away with his comic leanings on When the Heavy Breaks. Amid the self-reflection, there are moments when his sense of humour shines through, adding levity to some of the darker moments on the record.

Archie shuttler

When we chatted with Shuttler about the sound of the record, he pays tribute to some of his favourite artists:

“It’s a similar sound to albums by Bonnie Prince Billy, Bill Callahan and Silver Jews — kind of alt-folk/country. There’s also a medley that’s meant to bring Tom Waits’s kitchen sink percussion vibe to mind as well. There’s not really a separation between the sonic and lyrical inspirations as for me it comes as one package. So all the artists I just mentioned are some of my favourite lyricists as well.”

And it’s apparent when you drop the needle on opener Here Comes the Moon that Shuttler is comfortable working with a limited palette of sounds, preferring to direct the ear of the listener to the lyrical content. “I think it’s a late-night record,” says Shuttler.“It begins with Here Comes the Moon, so that sets the scene.”

The album’s climactic point, When I Break, is as Shuttler puts it, “the point where the album is supposed to reach its catharsis.” Again, this is a special nod to one of his chief inspirations, Bill Callahan and specifically, his song I Break Horses (though at the time Callahan penned that track, he was better known as Smog).

Though he’s not afraid to wear his influences on his sleeve, Shuttler’s lyrical observations are born from a place of originality. A prolific artist, no doubt we’ll be hearing of new Archie Shuttler adventures soon.

Archie Shuttler’s When the Heavy Breaks is out now.