Up With The Larks

MA 069CD MA 069CD

After an extended hiatus, Glasgow's The Pearlfishers return refreshed and improved with Up With The Larks, their sixth album for Marina Records -- the latest in a line of orch-pop masterpieces. 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" starts it off, rich with 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" -- a beautiful, string-laden rumination on the turning of seasons. "Womack and Womack" recalls Scott's early days running with the hawks of the major music industry and "Ring The Bells For A Day" is complete with the glittering Big Star chime of massed Fender Stratocasters. The Pearlfishers' 2006 Japanese tour with BMX Bandits is thrillingly recounted in "The Umbrellas Of Shibuya," a song which references 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, 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 Rufus Wainwright, reach a great finale with the album's 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.