Praise for BIG SEA

The early, local press and blog responses to BIG SEA are starting to roll in, and we are delighted it is full of praise: “Big sea [is a] collection of bristling anthems, flinty, chiselled from the same block that gave us Captain Beefheart and The Fall…Each song, in its own way, burns with the sameContinue reading “Praise for BIG SEA”


Rev Simpkins & the Phantom Notes’ album and illustrated book BIG SEA is OUT NOW! It is the REV’s first new LP for 11 years.

With artwork by Tom Knight and a foreword by Stephen Cottrell, Archbishop of York, Big Sea available released in hardback and saddle-stitched versions with a CD, and as a digital versions.

The Rev’s new album and 32-page illustrated book is a life-affirming meditation on hope during dark times. This new collection of exuberant and eccentric songs was written during the Rev’s diagnosis, treatment and recovery from cancer and drummer James De’ath’s illness with sepsis. What resulted was an emotive celebration of the peaks and troughs of life and death told through off-kilter songs about east coast creeks, shattering storms, mystic pelicans and the Colchester martyrs.  Artist Tom Knight’s illustrations and typesetting of the lyrics add further life to the album’s striking images and sentiments.


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Rev Simpkins

‘spine tingling…imagine Tom Waits collaborating with the early Captain Beefheart on a set of folk-psych songs’ Vive le Rock

‘dark but sublime…often breathtaking’ RnR

Sinner songster, guttural gospeller & pop-poet-priest, the Rev’d Matt Simpkins’s music is an unholy brew of bruising freak blues, string-snapping finger-twanged folk, and sanctified psychedelia. Shades of Captain Beefheart, Pavement, and the Kinks meld with Evensong choirs and pipe organs, pre-war Gospel Blues, string orchestras, brass bands, and Bert Jansch style finger-picking. 

Before he became the fourth generation of his family to be ordained as an Anglican priest, Matt came to musical notoriety through his raucous exploits in Fuzzface, Gospel-fiddle duo Sons of Joy, as a solo artist performing as Rev Simpkins & the Phantom Notes, and by collaborating with the remaining members of the Small Faces to reconstruct their LP Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake.

“Deep, dark…makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up” Maverick Magazine

“Raw, authentic and always riveting” Acoustic Magazine

‘High octane stuff…unique musical style and literate words performed with energy and passion. He must be a gas live.’ fROOTS

“skewed blues and rot-gut jugband swagger…a heady mix” Rock ‘n’ Reel

“I wonder what goes on inside his head” Blues Matters

“…he might just scoop a Mercury Prize…”, East Anglian Daily Times

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