I first came across that unwieldy term ‘folktronica’ when I went to see Fourtet at Triptych about six or seven years ago (and what happened to that festival?), and didn’t trust it then or now. However Meursault fit into that particular straitjacket more comfortably than most. All Creatures Will Make Merry is a deceptively complex album, one of those where you can play ‘spot the influence’ on each track.
There are the obvious echoes of The Arab Strap boys, particularly Mr Middleton, and of course, the ethos of The Fence Collective. But Meursault take the listener on a greater journey. There are trips to Canada (Arcade Fire and The Besnard Lakes) and America (Will Oldham, Explosions in the Sky and even The Low Anthem)via Iceland and back(Sigur Ros, but particularly Mum). Some people have claimed that Meursault are part of a great Scottish folk tradition, which is fine, but there is so much more going on here. This is an album that travels.
What really impresses me about it is the lo-fi production. It allows the music to sound at times as if it could have been made any time in the last 45 years, but still remains brand new. To put it another way; it’s a little bit 1968, a little bit 1991, but always 2010. Just as The Jesus and Mary Chain pushed West Coast rock through broken amps and a fuzzbox so Meursault rough folk up until it feels dirty and a little scared, and I think it’s all the more appealing for it. Here are a couple of clips. The first is taken from a great website called theyshootmusic/ and sees singer and songwriter Neil Pennycook performing among the swans (unfortunately, not the band):
The next clip is taken from a great night at the Edinburgh Queens Hall on my birthday last year, a coincidence, but a happy one:
This was during the Edinburgh Festival, and my various previews of this year’s festival will appear on these pages soon. I’m going to split them up into comedy, music, theatre,etc, so keep ’em peeled.