Meursault - All Creatures Will Make Merry

Catshoe 21/05/2010

Rating: 4/5

As it wheezes into life, 'All Creatures Will Make Merry' wears its heart on its sleeve, harking back to, if not channelling the spirt of, early British freak folk pioneers Incredible String Band. It's a fine lineage and not one to be ashamed of, especially when it also picks up a dual heritage of traditional Ceilidh bands somewhere along the way

Meursault are from Edinburgh. Formed in 2005, this was originally a one-man outlet for Neil Pennycook. It has now grown somewhat to a five piece

Not just in Pennycook's wildly celtic voice, it feels Scottish through and through, that folk heritage now melded alongside more modern indie conventions, without anything being drowned in the process.

'Payday' is a short opening track but one which sets the scene before it jumps across onto the staccato tapping clicking percussion of 'Crank Resolutions', Pennycook's vocal sounding as though it is filtered through butter-muslim from the bottom of a well. It's uplifting, almost demanding dancing as it builds.

Title track 'All Creatures Will Make Merry', tells tales of "so long ago" and being "torn to the ground", soon joined by the sound of pipes, ensemble vocals over a hypnotic back beat until it dissolves into anarchy and discord.

'One Day This'll All Be Fields' sets off with wistful banjo picking that Sufjan Stevens would be proud of, the wholly lovely song sounding as though it is being played on a wind-up gramaphone at 78rpm. It's a simple melody, one that risks being stuck in your head for days.

It's a contrast then to next have 'What You Don't Have' sounding like some trad-folk-shoegaze hybrid, imagine the Mary Chain boys getting loose in the back room of the Clachaig Inn with a pipe and drum band, back when lock-ins used to mean something and such things seemed possible. 'New Ruin' then lifts the spirit of some early sci-fi film, War of the Worlds maybe, epic, with hope that we will make it through the gloom.

As with that fellow subverter of tradition Ray Raposa, All Creatures Will Make Merry really does repay the effort of more concentrated listening. Give it a tiny bit of space and time, and fruit will surely be borne.

Release date 24/05/2010

Meursault - New Ruin (Live at the Queen's Hall) from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.