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- Secret Soundz Vol 1 & 2 by The Pictish Trail
8/10 Mike Staff review, 05 June 2014
NOTE: This is a compilation of volumes one and two of 'Secret Soundz'. Here's Mike's review of 'Vol 2' way back when........
My only previous exposure to this Pictish Trail chappie, alter-ego of Fence honcho Johnny Lynch, was on a wacky album he did not too long ago which contained a gruelling 50 30-second-long songs. I didn’t find it a lot of fun to listen to, but I’m obliged to to give him another chance this week because he’s got a new album out and it’s my turn on the review treadmill.
I’m happy to report that when he is allowing himself a reasonable amount of time per song, Pictish Trail does in fact craft very charming and idiosyncratic indie-pop with lots of synths that mixes the melodies of ‘60s psych-pop with a late ‘90s bedroom production feel. I’m particularly enjoying the drifty Washed Out-esque tech-synth drift on ‘Wait Until’, and as we get through the album the pace seems to slow but the intuitive melodies keep coming. Closer ‘Long In The Tooth’ is quite breezy in an Elliott Smith sort of way though.
It’s pop music at its core, but there’s a lot of warmth and personality to the production which keep the listener guessing. It’s not often that a record reminds me of Coldplay and Pere Ubu at the same time but this one does in places. Or maybe Of Montreal crossed with the Dismemberment Plan crossed with REM, hints of a more downbeat Django Django. Those are rubbish comparisons, sorry Johnny. It’s strange to listen to music this poppy and not be able to think of anyone specific it sounds just like. I have enjoyed it anyway, it’s unreservedly catchy and yet single-mindedly unusual.
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