The Pictish Trail
The Caves, Edinburgh, Wed 17 Sep; Captain’s Rest, Glasgow, Fri 26 Sep
This article is from 2008.
The Pictish Trail is coming out of the shadows. Johnny Lynch (for the Trail is he) has until now focussed on running the Fence Collective and playing guitar for head-honcho King Creosote (aka Kenny Anderson). But with the release of his fantastic debut album, Secret Soundz Vol. 1, it’s time for him to step into the limelight.
‘This is the first proper headline tour I’ve done, and it’s odd not having Kenny here to bail me out,’ says Lynch. ‘I don’t know what to expect, but I’m excited.’
The tour sees Lynch performing solo with guitar and keyboard, creating a stripped down version of the Secret Soundz vibe. That record is a rattling romp of random genius, swithering between singer-songwriter majesty and oddball geek-funk vignettes, with Lynch taking touchstones like Hot Chip, Beta Band and Midlake and turning them into something original and wonderful. Despite rave reviews across the board, he’s not getting carried away.
‘I don’t want to get too excited and set myself up for a big fall,’ he laughs. ‘If bands start believing their own hype they fall on their arses.’
Lynch’s attitude is largely due to his grounding in the Fence Collective, hunkered down in Fife’s East Neuk. Having watched mates King Creosote and James Yorkston sign with big labels, Lynch’s eyes are wide open.
‘At every point in his career Kenny has said, “This is good, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves”. That’s given me a level head. If I got offered a deal like his, I’d probably take it but there would be lots of caveats.’
Lynch admits that the amazing reception of Secret Soundz has made him take both his live shows and recordings more seriously. Next on the cards is a joint album with Adem of ‘properly electro, 80s, dancey stuff’, followed by a second Trail outing next year. Oh, and the little matter of keeping the Collective going.
‘We’ve built up a loyal fanbase who are excited about the music we put out and hopefully that can build,’ says Lynch. ‘If people get sick of it, we’ll just move onto making jam or something.’