tue 18/06/2024

CD: Meursault - Something for the Weakened | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Meursault - Something for the Weakened

CD: Meursault - Something for the Weakened

A more polished sound on third album from Edinburgh's local heroes

From subtle beginnings to full-on caustic squall: Meursault

The first thing that strikes you is the voice. At once coarse and warm, like the creak of the stairs of your childhood home as it settles in at night, Meursault’s Neil Pennycook sounds like a man with more than a few stories to tell.

Of course it helps that, instrumentation-wise, Something for the Weakened is one of those musical "progressions" which sees the band abandon the programmed beats that punctuated earlier recordings in favour of a more conventional sound that knows when to play it sparse and when to swell, filling out beautiful melodies that top the five-minute mark in places. But such is Pennycook’s voice, one suspects it would be distinguishable regardless of what it was playing against.

So let’s get the obvious out of the way: yes, this third album from the Edinburgh band gets the full-blown studio treatment where previous releases have been home-recorded efforts, and the difference in sound is palpable. And yet while it’s hard to avoid comparisons to better-known contemporaries Frightened Rabbit or the Twilight Sad on some of its more bombastic tracks, every time you try to pigeonhole Weakened as another perfectly pleasant anthemic-indiefolk-by-the-numbers effort a stripped-back piano interlude the likes of “Lightning Bolt” will stop you in your tracks.

But let us not do a disservice to those more anthemic numbers, which - ah, that voice again! - never quite come across as a straightforward homage to anybody else’s material. Rumours that Pennycook can now call on as many as eight or nine performers for hometown shows are lent credence on “Flittin’”, the 6 Music-listed single with a line in to-hell-with-romanticism and a string section fit to get any pulse racing. Then there’s “Settling”, a song whose subtle beginnings belie the full-on caustic squall that lies within. “I told you all I have are punchlines so ha-fucking-ha,” Pennycook almost spits, a line that sticks with you not for the expletive but for the perfect, menacing delivery. Any justice and it’ll be Meursault’s name they’ll be quoting next time anybody’s reviewing anything vaguely indie with a Scottish accent.

Watch a live acoustic performance of "Settling"

Neil Pennycook sounds like a man with more than a few stories to tell


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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