Meursault “All Creatures Will Make Merry”

Meursault
“All Creatures Will Make Merry”
[Song, By Toad, 2010]

Rating: 8.5

A few days ago I saw the strangest post on Facebook: “You must go to Whole Foods and get a package of these figs. I cannot remember what they are called, but right in the fruit section. soooooo goooood.”  Not only is the act of buying figs a bit out of the ordinary, but my friend Trunks Carter felt the necessity to convey this act to all of his “friends”.  Other than the Newton variety, I’ve never actually had a fig, and I’ve certainly  never desired one.  I would place a bet that my local grocery store doesn’t even sell figs. In fact, the last time I actually heard about figs was when I was four years old and read a book where a pig ate a fig which caused him to dance the jig.  But a human, eating a fig, without performing any dance moves? Ludicrous.

Yet, I don’t doubt my friend’s assertion for a second.  He’s not one of these Facebook whores who posts every mundane event in his daily life.  For Mr. Trunks Carter to post something it is almost guaranteed to be of the highest importance. Not only did he buy figs at Whole Foods, but they were “soooooo goooood” that he thought all people, fig lovers and the uninitiated to fig culture, needed to know.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I had my own prized fig, my own little secret discovery that I needed to share with the masses.  Months ago I first heard the Scottish folktronica band Meursault and instantly became entranced by their epic, lo-fi approach.  Much like Trunk’s search for the perfect fig, I began scouring record stores for Meursault’s 2010 release “All Creatures Will Make Merry”.  Austin, Omaha, Portland, it didn’t matter where I looked, the CD or LP were nowhere to be found.  My search moved online, but Insound and all illegal downloading sources didn’t have the album either (not that I’d illegally download music…).  Eventually, I had to give up on my search for a physical copy of the album, purchasing it digitally from the Evil Empire i-Tunes (Songs Sucks will probably berate me for not trying Aquarius Records, and I know I deserve it).

I’ve been listening to  “All Creatures Will Make Merry” constantly since my purchase and each time I’m captivated by the fine line the band walks between the lo-fi fuzz of the Mountain Goats and the epic grandeur of Arcade Fire.  You won’t see John Stewart swooning over these guys any time soon, and I doubt they will ever sell out Madison Square Garden, but Meursault’s latest album is just as ambitious and intense as Arcade Fire’s “The Suburbs”.   While most bands are forced to rely on a more polished production value to push that sense of urgency to a higher level, Meursault rely solely on a strange mixture of popping beats and crunching piano riffs that are reminiscent of a CB radio broadcast.

A candidate for best song of 2010, “Crank Resolutions” features a beat that is beyond description (which is a good thing):

The album also has its slower moments, off-setting the heartfelt anthems.  On songs like “One Day This’ll All Be Fields” and “Another” the band shifts gears and takes on the persona of a Scottish folk outfit, often sounding like The Tallest Man On Earth (by the way, the tallest man ever from Scotland was 7’9 and his name was Angus MacAskill…no, that’s not the latest burger from McDonalds although their angus burgers can definitely kill your ass).  While their folky numbers seem stripped down and harmless, they are at times just as riveting and poignant as the rest of the album.

There were probably better versions of “One Day This’ll All Be Fields” on YouTube, but this clip seemed so intimate and raw. I wish I was there to sing along with the sea of drunken Scots:

With Neil Pennycook’s commanding, Scottish voice echoing throughout each stunning song, I’d like to think that this is the album fellow countrymen Frightened Rabbit were aiming for with their latest release. While Frightened Rabbit’s “The Winter of Mixed Drinks” fell short of it’s high aspirations, “All Creatures Will Make Merry” surpasses expectation and blasts-off into the cosmos.  I understand that Meursault and this album will probably never be the apple of the music world’s eye, but for now, it’s the fig that makes this pig jig.

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Filed under Album Review, Best New Albums

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