I am a three minute pop song kind of guy which means that, in order to get my musical kicks, I often have to step back in time on a regular basis. It’s not that my attention span is short – although, in truth, I do have the patience of a hyperactive mass murderer - but, if you can’t make your point in under 180 seconds or your name isn’t Phil “Six Gun” Spector, then I am likely to walk on by your masterpiece. Unless you happen to be Meursault.
There I was relishing the prospect of raining some hate on Meursault. For a start, he is from Edinburgh and his songs, from past experience, nearly drown in the fey folksiness so beloved of the culturally bankrupt bastards that inhabit tea shops after dark yet there is something about Neil Pennycook’s music – for it is he behind Meursault – that casts a mysterious spell on your attention. It isn’t his voice, for that more often irritates enchants, nor is it, admittedly poetic, storytelling ability. No, it is the simple fact, and this is abundantly obvious in each and every song that makes up his album “Crow Hill”, that he never sounds less than genuine and, in much the same way as Tom Waits once did, he turns his oblique little tales into enchantments that reach beyond their contrived quirkiness to connect directly with what is left of your heart.
That makes Meursault something of an original. Despite computerised conformity being the new black, he resolutely strikes out on his own path and, with each step that he takes, he brings a little more beauty back into an increasingly ugly world. I therefore have no hesitation in wishing your ears the good fortune of listening to “Crow Hill”.
Best song? The beautifully sentimental cover of “I Heard My Mother Praying For Me”.
The verdict? “Crow Hill” is too good to be left to the trendies.