Meursault formed a few years ago when Neil Pennycook started to add musicians to his solo act. He made one abortive start before forming a settled band with Fraser Calder, Chris Bryant and Callum McLeod.
They released an EP around the time that this lineup was coalescing, but it ended up being representative of a band who had yet to really get a feel for what they wanted to sound like and where they were going with their music. But by the time they released Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues, first as a self-release in April 2008, then again on Song, by Toad Records in December of the same year, they had developed a very distinctive character based around a shifting interplay of electronic and traditional instruments.
Regular gig goers have probably experienced most of their songs played at both ends of this spectrum at sometime, and pretty much anywhere inbetween. Small Stretch of Land and William Henry Miller seem (so far) to exist solely in the acoustic realm, but they are very much the exceptions. Everything else seems to exist equally comfortably as a simple acoustic folk song, or as a thunderous blast of impassioned electronica and almost any imaginable blend of the two, and this could easily describe the band themselves, who seem equally comfortable playing sets in either guise.
With the recent release of acoustic EP Nothing Broke, a companion to their debut album, that scope is now fully expressed in their releases as well. Their catalogue now showcases a group who can be as gently heartbreaking as they can wildly forceful, and it is difficult to know how best to tell people about them, but their versatility and willingness to experiment gives people a lot of ways to get into this band.
Earlier this year Phil Quirie and Pete Harvey joined, on guitars and cello respectively. This more layered, complex sound is evident on the pair of 7″ singles released in December (William Henry Miller Parts One and Two on double a-sides with A Few Kind Words and The Dirt & the Roots respectively), and with them came wider acclaim, as the singles were awarded single of the week on Drowned in Sound. With a new album, a ten minute long single planned for release later in the year, and a collaborative album with King Creosote and Animal Magic Tricks also due out, they seem like a band who are determined to keep experimenting.
With a European tour booked for the Spring, to support the release of their second album, and their recent successes playing in London, Leeds and Manchester, amongst others, and to sold out venues back home in Edinburgh should give them the confidence that their fans are quite happy to travel with them, whatever they choose to explore next.
Pissing on Bonfires / Kissing With Tongues – CD
Nothing Broke – CD
A Few Kind Words/William Henry Miller Pt.1 – 7″
A Few Kind Words/William Henry Miller Pt.2 – 7″