A veteran in the Scottish scene for the past decade or so, Neil Pennycook (aka Meursault) made his biggest splash yet in 2017 with the record I Will Kill Again, which received rave reviews and nominations across the board. Now the follow-up has arrived, with a name that we cannot resist – F*** Off Back To Art School & Other Stories – and you know what, he may have outdone himself here!
Crow Hill is an intriguing intro that eventually lends way to Strong Armed Son, where we get our first taste of the writing which is sensational, being so provoking and gripping. Jenifer is comprised of electronics which are dark, gravelly and somewhat brooding; quite fitting of the song’s nature.
With The Unreliable Narrator, a mixture of instruments are used to help generate an unbelievably staggering sound – a trademark quality of Neil’s work – and this is recurrent in the likes of Beaten and Run, Harmony, Run. There are also some songs with a more cordial tone such as New Boy and especially the harmonious Nakhla Dog.
Meanwhile, Carry On Carrion is dripping with an infusing atmosphere, and following on from the rugged Small Victories we have the definitive highlight on the basis of storytelling and lyrics – I Heard My Mother Praying For Me, which is pretty tender and emotional and is able to suck in the listener with a beckoning force. And from there, the title track provides a mighty fine finish to the album.
From end to end, a tremendous product with virtually no flaws. A blend of enticing themes, experimental elements and superb performances make this a major achievement. It’s early days yet, but we can already see this topping numerous best-of lists by year’s end, including our own, quite frankly.