More eagle eyed ‘Spillers will be familiar with Meursault (pron. Murr-So) what with their first LP being an album of the month on the ‘Spill, and that they occupy the M slot on the Scots A-Z ‘Spill series.
However, only a wee bit has been said about their second record, which came out five months ago on the excellent Song, By Toad label. To be honest with you, I was so struck with the first album (it was number six on my top ten LPs of 2009 list, described by me as “A true original new voice, and cracking circuit-bent messed up folk tunes.”) that when the new LP didn’t have songs as immediate as “The Furnace” or “A Small Stretch Of Land” I had to give it more time and more listens.
“All Creatures Will Make Merry” is epic lo-fi, a massive amount of thought has gone into the recording of the songs giving them a vehicle that suits the mixture of traditional folk instruments (banjo, violin) and the ten quid drum machine that gets a good hammering on some of the songs. Neil Pennycook has a unique voice, one that sings beautiful words of loss, hope, and all the abstracts inbetween – in a way that can soar and elevate the spirits on the more focussed songs on the record.
“One Day This’ll All Be Fields” (above) is the stand out tune from the album, delicate yet terrifying, strummed on a ukelele down a phone line from a doomed planet – the last broadcast from a dead world, drifting in from space, makes me think of David Bowie’s “Five Years” in a way.
“Crank Resolutions” (above) is a good example of the Meursault sound, telling a tale of walking the streets alone on New Year’s Day, trying to make sense of everything – the music echoes the internal dialogue, moving from pensive to melancholic, to trying to gee oneself up and get on with things. The song has space in it, a rare thing these days, and scope too -as well as a great mix of electronics and things that are a bit more stringed.
The mandolin on “New Ruin” reminds me of mid-period REM, which is a comparison that I’ve drawn with Meursault from their first LP – I think the next LP may well be their ”Green” era and surprise the mainstream with it. Let’s hope they don’t lose the messed up noise along the way.