Ah, The Pearlfishers! following a Scottish tradition for blissful alternative pop music without really being noticed since 1991. Obvious points of reference are Surf's Up-era Beach Boys, The Beatles and Teenage Fanclub but there’s elements of Prefab Sprout and Michael Head that appear in the songs of head Pearfilsher David Scott too. Love & Other Hopeless Things is their new album. LP and CD on Marina.
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It's about time we showed more respect for the Pearlfishers. David Scott's orch pop project are one of those band who release a record every few years to a shrugged shoulder to most music listeners but those in the know are aware that these are exquisite records sure to be rediscovered in the future when people will wonder why it was Fat White Family rather than this that people were fascinated by.
Scott writes songs in the style of the classic composers - Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach , Paddy McAloon and drenches them in expensive arrangements that defy his barely known visibility. The opening title track is pure Burt Bacharach with the lovely flugelhorn opening and string drenched arrangements. Could Be Street, Could Be A Saint opens with a Here Comes the Sun referencing guitar riff before launching into a grand yearning composition that rivals Prefab Sprout in its ability to make soft rock sound intense and emotional.
Look its middle of the road ok? The arrangement often have the feel of mid 70 composers like Gilbert O' Sullivan and if there's anything holding them back it is Scott's voice which is thin and has an unfortunate habit of drifting into a mid Atlantic twang. But we are starved of songwriters who hark back to the golden era of Brill Building songwriting, songs which start out straightforward then have lovely twists and turns which show a master craftsman at work. For those of us who just can't hang around every ten years for a Prefab Sprout record this is a viable and lush alternative.
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- Love & Other Hopeless Things by The Pearlfishers
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