Love and Other Hopeless Things is the latest (and perhaps last) release on Marina Records from long-established and well-respected Glasgow band The Pearlfishers. But this thoughtful collection of eleven intelligently crafted songs is more beautiful background than attention grabbing femme fatale. It reflects the psychogeography of the west of Scotland and is made up of a soft, melancholy beauty with occasional bursts of sunshine. This could explain why The Pearlfishers are beloved locally yet rarely trouble the mainstream. These are fine songs, but it wouldn’t do for them to get too showy. This may sound parochial, and yet there is also the clear influence of vintage Americana in some of the vocal harmonies.
On first listen this album is understated, and it takes multiple visits to let the poetry of the music and lyrics work their way into the psyche. Its gentle melodies pair with David Scott’s distinctive vocal to provide a pleasing whole, although its doesn’t provide anything so inordinately original that it will change your life or stop you in your tracks.
You’ll Miss Her When She’s Gone is as poignantly melancholic as the title would suggest. You Can Take Me There is pleasantly poppy, bright and catchy. The arrangements are simple and sophisticated, with the odd brassy, jazzy instrumental interlude. Included is a definite air of nostalgia, particularly in Once I Lived in London. Scott and co-writer Bill DeMain recall Scott’s 80s optimism with the benefit of hindsight. This track nails the bittersweet sentiment of fondly remembering the past, tinged by regret at what might have been but never was.
Scott produced and arranged the album, and provides the lion’s share of the vocals. That’s not to say he hasn’t collaborated. Additional songwriting and vocals from Becci Wallace and strings from Susan Appelbe and Katie Rush add a welcome layer of complexity.
This is neither an album of stormy songs or upliftingly upbeat summer sounds. You may need to have experienced a resident rain cloud to fully connect with it. But for those looking for emotional integrity, thoughtful lyrics and classy songs of shared human experience will surely find them in Love and Other Hopeless Things.