Dirt Poor Robins Revel in Cinematic Fatalistic Glory on "Scarecrows" (premiere)

Photo courtesy of the artist

Kentucky's eclectic Dirt Poor Robins follow their ingenious Raven Locks trilogy with a wonderful lyric video for "Scarecrows".

There is no band quite like Dirt Poor Robins. Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky and led by married couple Neil and Kate DeGraide, the project certainly conjures comparisons to the polygonal, genre-splicing grandeur of acts like the Family Crest, [The Reign of] Kindo, and the Dear Hunter. That said, their heightened levels of filmic production, steampunk storytelling, and theatrically sundry vocal stylings place their albums (especially the Raven Locks trilogy) in a class all their own.

Recently, the pair released a new EP—Dead Horse, Alaska (Red)—that concurrently presents many of their cherished assets while also showcasing some bold new directions. Leaning more toward the former category, a brand new lyric video for the second song in the set, "Scarecrows", has just arrived, too. With its divinely earnest singing, riveting narration, and stirringly multifaceted instrumentation, it's another rewarding reason for why Dirt Poor Robins is wholly remarkable.

Speaking of the track, collection, and their larger vision for what's to come, Neil DeGraide is cryptic in describing what "Scarecrows" is about. Still, he admits, "it comes at a crucial moment for our main characters. It's a literal existential crisis. They have to decide if they will take a stand against the impending doom facing humanity or to retreat for their own safety and survival". He also reveals that (Red) is the first of three connected EPs. Specifically, he classifies this one as having a "prog/pop focus", whereas the next one, (Gold), will slant more toward a "trippy/classical/cinematic" feeling. As for the last one, (Black), it'll be "more driving, with a harder edge". Once they all come out, they'll be combined into a comprehensive longer statement with altered sequencing and previously unreleased selections.

In terms of how "Scarecrows" ties into Dirt Poor Robin's overarching goal, he gloats, "we always begin with a desire to do something unique and to take the listener to a place they haven't quite been before. With that said, I have to admit that Queen, ELO, the Pretenders, and Pink Floyd were big directional influences on this track. We relish the chance to tip our hat to our biggest influences every now and again."

As usual, Neil handles all of the music here, with Kate countering his sleek and stately gentlemanly timbre with her own classily expressive and velvety tone. In addition, violinist Marina Comfort plays a crucial role in complementing the duo's treasurable array of fatalistic glamour. Their voices blend as exquisitely as ever, countering each other lovingly around unified poeticisms like "But when we fall / We might ascend / And begin again." Around them, soft piano arpeggios, starry effects, and programmed percussion—among other elements—decorate their decrees wonderfully. All in all, it's about as splendid as anything else they've done, which is truly saying something.

Escape with "Scarecrows" above and let us know what you think! Also, make sure you check out all of Dead Horse, Alaska (Red) here.





'World War 3 Illustrated #51: The World We Are Fighting For'

World War 3 Illustrated #51 displays an eclectic range of artists united in their call to save democracy from rising fascism.


Tiphanie Doucet's "You and I" Is an Exercise in Pastoral Poignancy (premiere)

French singer-songwriter Tiphanie Doucet gives a glimpse of her upcoming EP, Painted Blue, via the sublimely sentimental ode, "You and I".


PM Picks Playlist 3: WEIRDO, Psychobuildings, Lili Pistorius

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of WEIRDO, Brooklyn chillwavers Psychobuildings, the clever alt-pop of Lili Pistorius, visceral post-punk from Sapphire Blues, Team Solo's ska-pop confection, and dubby beats from Ink Project.

By the Book

The Story of Life in 10 1/2 Species (excerpt)

If an alien visitor were to collect ten souvenir life forms to represent life on earth, which would they be? This excerpt of Marianne Taylor's The Story of Life in 10 and a Half Species explores in text and photos the tiny but powerful earthling, the virus.

Marianne Taylor

Exploitation Shenanigans 'Test Tube Babies' and 'Guilty Parents' Contend with the Aftermath

As with so many of these movies about daughters who go astray, Test Tube Babies blames the uptight mothers who never told them about S-E-X. Meanwhile, Guilty Parents exploits poor impulse control and chorus girls showing their underwear.


Deftones Pull a Late-Career Rabbit Out of a Hat with 'Ohms'

Twenty years removed from Deftones' debut album, the iconic alt-metal outfit gel more than ever and discover their poise on Ohms.


Arcade Fire's Will Butler Personalizes History on 'Generations'

Arcade Fire's Will Butler creates bouncy, infectious rhythms and covers them with socially responsible, cerebral lyrics about American life past and present on Generations.


Thelonious Monk's Recently Unearthed 'Palo Alto' Is a Stellar Posthumous Live Set

With a backstory as exhilarating as the music itself, a Thelonious Monk concert recorded at a California high school in 1968 is a rare treat for jazz fans.


Jonnine's 'Blue Hills' Is an Intimate Collection of Half-Awake Pop Songs

What sets experimental pop's Jonnine apart on Blue Hills is her attention to detail, her poetic lyricism, and the indelibly personal touch her sound bears.


Renegade Connection's Gary Asquith Indulges in Creative Tension

From Renegade Soundwave to Renegade Connection, electronic legend Gary Asquith talks about how he continues to produce infectiously innovative music.


What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


A Certain Ratio Return with a Message of Hope on 'ACR Loco'

Inspired by 2019's career-spanning box set, legendary Manchester post-punkers A Certain Ratio return with their first new album in 12 years, ACR Loco.


Oscar Hijuelos' 'Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love' Dances On

Oscar Hijuelos' dizzyingly ambitious foot-tapping family epic, Mambo Kings Play the Songs of Love, opened the door for Latinx writers to tell their stories in all their richness.


PM Picks Playlist 2: Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES, SOUNDQ

PopMatters Picks Playlist features the electropop of Bamboo Smoke, LIA ICES' stunning dream folk, Polish producer SOUNDQ, the indie pop of Pylon Heights, a timely message from Exit Kid, and Natalie McCool's latest alt-pop banger.


'Lost Girls and Love Hotels' and Finding Comfort in Sadness

William Olsson's Lost Girls and Love Hotels finds optimism in its message that life tears us apart and puts us back together again differently.


Bright Eyes' 'Down in the Weeds' Is a Return to Form and a Statement of Hope

Bright Eyes may not technically be emo, but they are transcendently expressive, beatifically melancholic. Down in the Weeds is just the statement of grounding that we need as a respite from the churning chaos around us.


Audrey Hepburn + Rome = Grace, Class, and Beauty

William Wyler's Roman Holiday crosses the postcard genre with a hardy trope: Old World royalty seeks escape from stuffy, ritual-bound, lives for a fling with the modern world, especially with Americans.


Colombia's Simón Mejía Plugs Into the Natural World on 'Mirla'

Bomba Estéreo founder Simón Mejía electrifies nature for a different kind of jungle music on his debut solo album, Mirla.

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.