Well, Meursault. If you move in the same blog circles as I do, you would’ve heard of this up and coming Edinburgh act by now and you may have already checked out their 2008 release Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues, released on Song By Toad Records.
I must admit to not warming straight away to these guys last year, and I think that’s down to me being distracted and not giving it the album the time it deserves more than anything else. Luckily, a recent email from Matthew over at Song, By Toad alerted me to the Nothing Broke EP release and I immediately fell head over heels for this gorgeous 5 track gem.
There is not a single dud moment on this record. Not a single bloody one. Each and every track is a masterpiece.
It’s acoustic and melancholy and warm and opening track ‘Nothing Broke’ features banjo and some beautiful underlying accordian. Or is it autoharp? I’m not entirely sure. Anyway, this is the official promo track off the EP and I think it does an excellent job of showcasing what these guys are capable of, it’s got a little bit of everything – soaring vocals, multi-instrumentation and wonderful lyrics.
The opening of ‘Red Candle Bulb’ reminds me of Frightened Rabbit’s ‘Poke’ for some reason. It’s got nothing to do with the fact that they both happen to be Scottish bands and the songs don’t really sound the same, but I think it might be the simple guitar and single vocal beginning that triggers this association. I’m also quite enamoured by these lines:
you can waste your whole life praying and still have nothing to show
fuck this shit I don’t need this stress
if I think i’m gonna fail I won’t show for the test
I am what was once known as a sensitive soul
Which brings me to ‘Love Or Limb’. What a song. Deceptively simple, it grows on me more and more with each listen. Achingly gorgeous, brutally honest.
there are times when I think all you need is my love
there are times when I think all you need are my limbs
and I need some way to let you down without leaving you behind
some way to keep all this with me
while setting it alight
and if I could do just one of these things
then I think that I might be
I think that I might be alright
From the opening handclaps of ‘William Henry Miller Part 1’ and its simple twangy banjo beginning, I knew that this track was even better than its predecessors. Neil Pennycook’s vocals are outstanding, complete with that lovely Scottish tinge that enhances every wonderfully chosen word. The melody is gorgeous too and I’ve found myself humming it constantly, reminding me that I’ve not been able to listen to anything else at all this past week.
Closing track ‘William Henry Miller Part 2’ follows directly from ‘Part 1’ and is probably my favourite of the bunch. I say probably because I love each track with such ferocity that whichever one I’m listening to at the time is my favourite, until the next one comes on and convinces me to love them best instead. Featuring piano and guitar and with a greater ambience than ‘Part 1’, it’s slower and a bit more morose, but I mean that in a good way. The best way. Just listen to those ‘ohhhhh’ moments. You’ll know the ones I mean.
I honestly love this EP and can’t recommend it highly enough. I urge you, beg you, beseech you to buy it and listen to it for the rest of your born days. You won’t regret it.
Meursault performing ‘William Henry Miller Part 1’ on a Newcastle bandstand as the rains pours behind them. Just a banjo, three voices and two pairs of hands a-clapping. I love the closing shot of a lone man walking in the rain through the park too. Wonderful stuff.
And from Pissing On Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues
*** Edit: It wasn’t until I went to buy the actual physical record that I realised I’d been listening to the tracks not in the order in which they appear on the EP, but in the order stupid iTunes had placed them when I’d imported them into my library. I’ve since changed my review to reflect the correct order, but I think it’ll take a while for me to get used to it! Stupid bloody program.