Wake up everybody, they are back back back: After an extended hiatus, Glasgow’s The Pearlfishers return refreshed and all improved with Up With The Larks, their sixth album for Marina Records - the latest in a line of orch-pop masterpieces including Across The Milky Way, Sky Meadows and A Sunflower At Christmas. The album is clear evidence that main Pearlfisher David Scott continues his unique musical journey with renewed joy and verve - and that classic songwriting and well- crafted arrangements are alive and well in 2007.
Joyous title track, Up With The Larks kick starts the day, “shattered and blue in splinters and sparks”, rich with trademark Pearlfishers lush vocal harmonies, multi-layered guitar texture, the wild jangle of a battered upright piano and exquisite melodic twists and turns. Teenage Fanclub’s Norman Blake co-produced four of the album’s cuts, starting with The Bluebells – not a tribute to once famous Scottish popsters but a beautiful, string-laden rumination on the turning of seasons.
One act who do indeed receive a full-blooded name-check are Womack And Womack in a song titled, aptly enough, Womack And Womack which recalls Scott’s early days running with the hawks of the major music industry (“.left the school and joined a band, like other lads across the land, gladly kissed the corporate hand.”).
Morning breaks again in Ring The Bells For A Day, complete with the glittering Big Star chime of massed Fender Stratocaster, an exultation to “cast the night away”and a line written in tribute to one of Scott’s enduring heroes, Brian Wilson: “Wherever you lie down, wherever you wake up, the world follows”. The Pearlfishers 2006 Japanese tour with BMX Bandits is thrillingly recounted in The Umbrellas Of Shibuya, a song which takes its reference point from Michel Legrand’s classic movie opera “The Umbrellas Of Cherbourg” but locates itself in a Tokyo rainstorm – with neon puddles, painted in Morricone banjos, Sakamoto synth blooms, Nilsson mouth music and, most tellingly, Scott’s truly unique sense of melody and structure. Another highlight is the Randy Newman-esque With You On My Mind which sounds like a lost Tin Pan Alley classic arranged by Van Dyke Parks. London’s In Love could be the theme song to an as-yet-to-be-made romantic comedy blockbuster starring the new Cary Grant, set in the “blue black air”of Britain’s capital – full of promise and heartbreak.
The Pearlfishers, firmly rooted in the classic tradition of three minute cinematics as pioneered by Webb, McCartney and, recently Rufus Wainwright, reach a great finale with the album’s two closing songs: Blue Riders On The Range, a sparkling widescreen epic (sounding like Marvin & Diana doing “RAM”) and the gorgeous, pastoral I Just See The Rainbow which ends the album on an optimistic note. “And call me cock-eyed if you will, but I don’t see that dark hill, I just see the rainbow.”. The only way is UP!
David Scott toured Germany, Austria and Switzerland with Norman Blake during October and November 2007 as part of the Sit Down and Sing Tour. The Umbrellas Of Shibuya is also available as a limited 7”.