Meursault - The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, Fri 26 Apr 2013 (4 stars)

Meursault, The Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh, Fri 26 Apr 2013

Very few musicians can command complete silence like Neil Pennycook. During 'Song For Martin Kippenberger' - the finale of a set beautifully littered with both humour and sorrow - the Meursault frontman enforces a deathly stillness as he hauls out strips of emotion with each syllable. For its final three minutes, it appears as if he is in complete isolation.

Fortunately, he is not. Pennycook had handpicked Withered Hand and two points from the former pentagon [now straight line duo] of FOUND to help him inaugurate Haddowfest's new club night, and those lucky enough to be in early attendance caught a fleeting glimmer of Dan Willson's new material, of which 'Horseshoe' was strongest.

Given the unexpectedly early - and brief - set, many of the late and lost may have missed Willson's poetical musings but would stumble upon FOUND's Kev Sim and Lomond Campbell's latest analogue operation, which at times was less glitch and more clamour and others, soothing, vocoded electronica in its novel, collaborative infancy.

Meursault's set juxtaposes collated, lighthearted merriment (their third album Something for the Weakened made this year's SAY shortlist) and segregated melancholy. The warming paradiddle of 'Settling', harmonious symmetry of new song 'Ballad' and sheer energy of 'Dull Spark' all stoke the coals to ignite Meursault as a collective, but the seclusive nature of 'What You Don't Have', profanity-embracing 'Gremlin' and aforementioned encore are the flame-smothering counterbalance.

In the final, silent moments, Meursault's divisiveness becomes clearer. They may be heading towards a sweeping, bolder sound, but the solitude of songs from All Creatures Will Make Merry hold the most potency tonight.


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