tue 23/05/2017

CD: Pictish Trail - Future Echoes | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Pictish Trail - Future Echoes

CD: Pictish Trail - Future Echoes

Purveyor of the finest space-age disco-wonk-pop returns

So many of the songs on 'Future Echoes' beg to be danced to
Glitches, warped melodies and missed connections: Pictish Trail's Future Echoes

Johnny Lynch – the artist otherwise known as Pictish Trail – is one of the country’s most intriguing musicians. In 2010, he upped sticks and moved into a caravan on the remote island of Eigg, ensuring every appraisal of his work evermore would refer to him as a “hermit” or a “recluse”. And yet, despite the geographical challenges, Lynch somehow remains the life and soul of any party he cares to put his name to: festival curator (they come to him); label boss (releasing music into the world on the back of postcards, with coordinates rather than catalogue numbers); purveyor of the finest space-age disco-wonk-pop.

Despite their snatches of folk-inspired melody, often unconventional structure and occasional hints of malice, so many of the songs on Future Echoes beg to be danced to – until the mood changes, as it does often, and you’re left shuffling your feet, trying to conceal your awkwardness, like your silent disco headphones fell off in the middle of a wake. It’s an album that opens with a gloriously queasy sample of the theme from the movie Fargo and ends with an all-night rave in a barn, while the in-betweeny bits short-circuit your brain and get stuck in your head for days. There are glitches, warped melodies and missed connections – and the image of Lynch, standing in a field, chasing a dropped call.

Trippy album opener “Far Gone (Don’t Leave)” tips a knowing wink in the direction of Massive Attack, but the film score sample and mesmerising strings leave you uncertain whether to stay and be bewitched or run for the hills. It is both a world and only four tracks away from “Half Life”, the album’s unspeakably gorgeous mid-point and a song that, were it not for its title and position, you’d be convinced was about the end of something. “Easy With Either” lightens the mood with a cheeky play on words and rhyme schemes, while “Strange Sun” samples the sounds of Eigg across an immersive, outward-looking seven minutes. It’s a reminder that even the most reclusive of us remains a part of something bigger.

@lastyearsgirl_

Below: watch the "Far Gone (Don't Leave)" video

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters