Label: Song, By Toad Release date: 24/05/10 Link: Official Myspace Imagine if you will the wintery soundscapes of Volcano Choir mixed with the blips, clicks and general haziness of Animal Collective or Freelance Whales. Seasonally then, Meursault might be better described as spring going autumn. All Creatures Will Make Merry might not at first sound like a fitting album title as there is plenty of melancholy here, but at least it's an album that we can indeed celebrate. Eponymous third track for example, is a dense, warm amalgamation of organs, vocal harmonies, reverb heavy drums and lush Scottish accents. It's slow burning, almost fizzing with subdued synths, and if anything sounds like Arcade Fire took one of their slower songs to a logical extreme. This song though, and Meursault themselves are not overly derivative; their sound is best encapsulated by the way 'Weather' segues into the bucolic 'One Day This'll all be fields'. A contemplative strummed guitar and wistful vocal melody in the former track becomes banjo and radio filtered, lightly distorted harmonies.
'What You don't have' ups the volume to the hitherto high point on the album; a pulsing wall of sound is pierced by galloping beats, compelling by way of contrast and then, delightfully, a subduing and a violin mournfully underpinning the evocative lyrics 'It's not what you don't have, it's how far you can run with it'. Gorgeous. Much like Neil Pennycook's voice. Under pressure it takes on that lush timbre as it strains, but holds the gentle melodies firmly. The instrumentation switches between subtle acoustic and epic lo-fi, albeit with little in between. This is easily a complex enough offering to bear up to repeated listens but perhaps would have benefited from a few hooks, or rather, certain motifs being developed a little more to differentiate them from the swathes of heavily textured sequences. In short, an album that doesn't dare to shy away from the folky equivalent to loud/quiet/loud, but when it's this good and unpretentious, you won't be left wanting. Meursault deliver bang on the money with their second album. Pennycook has been cited with saying 'The main theme of the record is one of contentment - what people are willing to do to obtain it, hold on to it, and what we stand to lose or gain if we try". I almost needn't say that listening to this album would be a bloody good start. Photobucket