I Will Kill Again, by Meursault (Song, by Toad Records, out now on vinyl LP and CD)
To mark the launch of Meursault’s fourth full-length album I Will Kill Again, this Saturday saw Summerhall host an all-day event under the moniker Granfalloon. Mr Toad, the man behind the band’s label Song, by Toad Records, explained the name as denoting a proud and meaningless association of human beings, coined by American writer Kurt Vonnegut in his novel Cat’s Cradle.
Today’s gathering of humans certainly lives up to that title, with an eclectic array of bands and audience members coming together for the event. After a solo set from Meursault’s singer-songwriter extraordinaire Neil Pennycook, Fence Collective favourite James Yorkston teamed up with Aidan O’Rourke (of Orkney band Lau) to debut two lengthy songs from their new collaborative side project. True to form, Yorkston continued to experiment with different instrumentation, this time bringing a strange but sonically enchanting contraption to the party, which, when paired with O’Rourke’s accomplished violin work, produced wandering orchestral loveliness.
Up next was Faith Eliott, whose wonderful voice and poetic lyricism delivered a real treat for the eardrums, especially when supported by Pennycook and Reuben Taylor on bowed banjo and keys. Meanwhile, Eliott brought an extra touch of intrigue to the performance with the addition of puppetry projections involving paint tubes, kaleidoscopes and some nifty camera jiggery-pokery. The final result was a truly mesmerising experience, the music and visuals combining to threaten stealing the show from the night’s headliners.
After an hour-long pause for nosh and hooch, the suitably refreshed gathering of humans reassembled in the upstairs Dissection Room of Summerhall’s cavernous interior. The space was used to excellent effect, with dimmed lighting, plenty of crowd space and a fully-stocked bar indicating a change in the night’s tone.
First up was rocky lorelei, a Rozi Plain-style outfit hailing from Toronto in Canada and spearheaded by gorgeous vocals and grungy melodies. That set was swiftly followed by Adam Stafford’s intense, almost demonic loop-machine machinations, all sweat and sinister foreboding. Lush Purr came after, delivering a medley of genre-spanning tunes which ranged from sunny surf pop to Pixies-eque noise rock and most things in between. The penultimate act Siobhan Wilson, a new addition to the Toad roster, served up a stripped-back, soulful set characterised by her incredible voice and lilting low-key harmonies.
With the humans’ appetite for lovely, lovely music suitably whetted, Meursault took to the stage to round things off. Having gone through so many changes to their lineup in their decade-long history, even Pennycook himself would be forgiven for struggling who or what the band has become. On this occasion, Pennycook bolstered their ranks with the addition of Faith Eliott on vocals and delivered a superb celebration of the new album, which they played in full and full-on.
Today’s granfalloon must go down as an unreserved success in heralding the arrival of the new material, with a nod to the past coming at the end of the night with a moving rendition of old favourite ‘Flittin’. All in attendance flitted back home (or, more likely, to the nearest watering hole), having gobbled up a veritable smorgasbord of stellar independent music. Please, Mr and Mrs Toad, we want some more!