Review : Meursault - Something for the Weakened
BbcIt’s easy to think you have all the answers when it comes to reading bands’ intentions – that’s ‘you’, the modern-day listener and message board commenter, as well as the scribes of reviews like this one. But, most often, it’s a fool’s game.
To wit, Something for the Weakened, the third album by Edinburgh-based septet Meursault. Its two full-length predecessors brought together programmed beats and swelling indie-rock with emotionally tender lyrical subject matter. A Scottish answer to The Postal Service, some suggested, and it seemed to be causing their proverbial star to rise.
But these 10 new songs’ instrumentation is wholly non-electronic and frequently acoustic – so is this an attempt at a more commercial sound? Or, indeed, a less commercial one?
Perhaps it’s neither in particular. Regardless, it doesn’t sound forced or ersatz; Neil Pennycook, Meursault’s vocalist and founding member, has (jokingly?) attributed the shift to his laptop breaking. “Epic lo-fi,” Pennycook’s own descriptor for previous album All Creatures Will Make Merry, still carries a certain resonance here....full text
ThelineofbestfitIt’s been a fascinating few years for anyone following the progress of Edinburgh’s Meursault. The band’s 2008 debut Pissing On Bonfires / Kissing With Tongues was a masterful cauldron of ideas that buried beautiful melodies beneath stratospheres of scratches and fireworks. It sent critics scrambling for superlatives and set the bar sky high. So much so that the response to its follow up was, relatively speaking, underwhelming. In retrospect though, the scruffy, lo-fi All Creatures Will Make Merry seems a more realised, focused record. Perhaps Meursault decided that it was better to bottle all the disparate ideas, shake them about a bit and pour out something a bit more consolidated, but no less interesting or enjoyable. And hey presto: it worked.
Their third leap along the evolutionary path (because it most certainly represents progress) is the most drastic yet. The general direction is the same: album number three is more consistent, structurally, and the melodies are more nuclear still. For the first time though, the band has released a cleanly polished set of songs, as nature intended them. The electronics have been discarded in favour of a more analogue setup: keys and strings are to the fore.
And then there’s The Voice. When these ears first bore witness to a Meursault live show, they were stunned into submission by Neil Pennycook’s booming, beautiful vocals, which filled the venue, leaving us to wonder if he’d had a megaphone lodged in his larynx. On album number three it’s been bumped up the bill and unleashed in all its glorious technicolor. Meursault the capricious art project has given way to Meursault, the band. And boy, do they scrub up well....full text
GlasgowpodcartMeursault are one of the most intimidating bands I have had to write about in my time with Glasgow Podcart. Essentially they are one of, if not the most underrated band to come out of Scotland in the last few years. However, going by the press that they are receiving now, Something For The Weakened (the band’s third studio album) will show that a true headliner has arrived.
Something For The Weakened is an album that you can quite easily talk about as one body. Often with albums there will be tracks scattered throughout that you will skip back and forth from. Not this. People will always have a stand out and for me it is Hole.
Hole is a song that I wish I had written. This is the biggest compliment I can pay Neil Pennycook and Co. Tentative piano chords open up an expansive track that never wavers from a melancholic tone. Hole is a stunning arrangement that is emotive, illustrious and sometimes sinister; it is a profound, uncynical brand of songwriting that showcases Pennycook’s obsession with emerging from the darkness that life brings.
Mamie is a modern day lament that pays respect to not only the roots that Meursault have grown for themselves, but there is also no denying the almost historical Scottish texture that the song delivers. It stakes claim on a unique and fascinating turf that is like an intimate confession and I feel almost guilty to be imposing. The ultimate draw is Pennycook’s voice, a man that is able to sing multi-octaves with such emotion that it would sound so painfully beautiful no matter what he was singing.
Something For The Weakened is a triumph. It is by far my favourite album of the trio that have been released. A haunting and affecting album, it is guaranteed to leave you speechless, one way or another....full text
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