1-2 Weeks
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.