The Pictish Trail - Secret Soundz Vol. 1

Joyously schizophrenic

Album Review by Milo McLaughlin | 29 Aug 2008
Album title: Secret Soundz Vol.1
Artist: The Pictish Trail
Label: Fence
Release date: 8 Sep

In his behind the scenes role at Fife's Fence record label, Johnny Lynch has obviously been well-placed to soak up all the best aspects of the label's varied output. Secret Soundz Vol.1 is a collection of intricate but playful electronica as colourful as its striking cover art. The album's joyously schizophrenic combination of strong pop songs and wistful experimentation are given focus by Lynch's plaintive vocals, and there's also musical accompaniment by various members of the Fence Collective, and on three key tracks The Earlies. This contributes an autumnal depth of field that perfectly complements the fairground incandescence of Lynch's own arrangements. Words Fail Me Now is a supernatural carousel with such melodic strength it could spin you off your centre of gravity; The Lighthouse might appear to emit a lasting glow of metaphorical optimism but in fact hides a darker tale of psychopathic behaviour; and Into The Smoke is a slow-burning anthem that recalls the effortless transcendence of prime Beta Band. A sterling debut. [Milo McLaughlin]

The Pictish Trail plays Fence Club at The Caves, Edinburgh on 17 Sep