I’m always behind the current trend of the blogosphere. I didn’t hear “Paper Planes” until 2 months ago, I didn’t like MGMT for a long time and I never got into Bon Iver. So it should come as no surprise that I’ve only just fallen in love with Meursault. The Edinburgh-based four piece made it onto many a discerning blogger’s end of year list, and excited the esteemed Matthew from Song, By Toad so much that he started a record label to distribute their first album, “Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues”.
It’s not exactly a puzzle as to why this happened either. From the off, this album is something special. Every song sounds simple but on closer listening the complexities of the instrumentation, the flourishes of synths and even the production reveal themselves to be crafted perfectly to create exactly the mood the band wanted. For a band that combines electronic sounds and traditional folk instruments, it was always going to be an ambitious style, but I can’t emphasise just how right they’ve got it. Neil Pennycook’s vocals are incredibly forceful, soaring and keening throughout, and yet are always kept slightly muffled behind the melodies. Synths are par for the course this year, as any “ones to watch” list will tell you at the moment, but there’s something very different in Meursault’s usage of them, dare I say it almost Kid A-like (Yes, I just compared them to Radiohead). They skip and jump over each other, constantly taking left turns, suddenly introducing a fuzzy distortion before moving into clean 8-bit beeps.
The album itself is beautifully put together, never seeming samey with songs like The Furnace combining a synth backdrop with a banjo melody, A Few Kind Words relying completely on the synths to drive it and A Small Stretch Of Land a gently strummed acoustic number. I cannot overstate how much you should listen to this album, if you, like me, haven’t already been made aware of it by the countless numbers of other writers who have already sung its praises. It’s simply an almost overwhelming joy to listen to.
Meursault – Salt Part 1
Meursault – A Few Kind Words