tue 16/08/2022

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

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.


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

Add comment


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