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PICTISH TRAIL

Pictish Trail

Island Family

    Island Family is the fifth album from Isle-of-Eigg dwelling electro-acoustic psych-pop wonder Pictish Trail, AKA Johnny Lynch. A strange, unpredictable, sardonic and yet deeply personal record inspired by all from Fever Ray to The Flaming Lips, Liars, Mercury Rev and Beck, Island Family is Pictish Trail’s contrarian view of arcadia; a search for the euphoric in the bucolic, bound up in sometimes conflicting ideas and feelings around nature and environment, sincerity and artifice, escapism and belonging. It’s an album about how no man can remain an island, however hard he might try.

    Released by Fire Records, with support from Johnny’s own label Lost Map, and produced by long-term collaborator Rob Jones (The Voluntary Butler Scheme, The Gene Dudley Group), ‘Island Family’ opens with its title track, a song of death, ghosts and the ties that bind, fusing abrasive electronic beats with a tongue-in-cheek fireside folk refrain and the haunted ice cream van melody of a digitally reincarnated traditional Scottish jig. A purgative surrender to nature’s whim driven by a clattering machine drumbeat rolled in a puddle of filthy dirty fuzz, ‘Natural Successor’ is five-and-a-half-minutes of cathartic churning bass.

    ‘In The Land of The Dead’ is an eight-bit glitch-core reflection on island party excesses spasming into existential dread and regret, suitably accompanied by a funereal mariachi band. It’s followed by the epic ‘It Came Back’, the understated verses and arms-aloft falsetto chorus of which are accompanied by a tense, foreboding bass-driven electro hip hop instrumental with (spoiler) a brain-shattering industrial-metal meltdown. ’Melody Something’ is the album’s purest moment, a cautiously uplifting solar-powered-ballad about losing track of time in the cycle of the seasons, and the gap between memory and reality. Shapeshifting closer ‘Remote Control’ is a channel hopping cabin-fever-dream flipping from warped boyband ballad to deep-fried fuzz pop.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    Barry says: The latest outing in the Pictish Trail odyssey takes the blippy, 8-bit sounds of 202's 'Thumb World' and winds them around a core of wicker-folk psychedlia and oddball glitched electronics for stalwart label, Fire Records. It's both wonderfully odd and stunningly melodic in parts, but beautifully balanced with just the right amount of syncopated oddity and swimming lysergic folk.

    TRACK LISTING

    Side A
    A1 Island Family
    A2 Natural Successor
    A3 The River It Runs Inside Of Me
    A4 In The Land Of The Dead
    A5 It Came Back
    Side B
    B1 Thistle
    B2 Melody Something
    B3 Nuclear Sunflower Swamp
    B4 Green Mountain
    B5 Remote Control

    Pictish Trail

    Natural Successor - Inc Django Django Mix

      A purgative surrender to nature’s whim driven by a clattering machine drumbeat and rolled in a puddle of filthy dirty fuzz, ‘Natural Successor’ is the riotous new single from isle of Eigg based Scottish psychedelic electronic-pop ogre Johnny Lynch AKA Pictish Trail.

      Set for release on limited-edition 12” vinyl by Fire Records, with support from Johnny’s own label Lost Map Records, it’s the first taste of a set of brand-new Pictish recordings produced by longterm collaborater Rob Jones (The Voluntary Butler Scheme, The Gene Dudley Group).

      The 12” single features exclusive remixes by Django Django and Makeness

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Matt says: Always nice to hear from the driving force that is Johnny Lynch. "Natural Successor" is soaring psychedlic rock with stadium potential. Django Django jump on board with a baggy, ALFOS-friendly tweak too. Then Makeness twist things up with a frenzied jungle refix.

      TRACK LISTING

      A1. Natural Successor
      A2. Natural Successor (Instrumental)
      B1. Natural Successor (Django Django’s Fazed And Confused Mix)
      B2. Natural Successor (Makeness Remix)

      Bold, weird, wild, wired, sonically luxurious yet never losing touch with its DIY-‘til-I-die roots, Thumb World is a voyage to the outer rings of Pictish Trail’s mind at its darkest, funniest and most inventive – a plugged-in, fuzzed-out, fucked-up contemplation on, as he puts it, “life repeating and gradually degrading, the inevitable cyclical nature of things, and the sense of their ultimately being no escape.”

      Expect alien abductions, thumping beats, Trump-haired pigs, paternal panic, astronaut sex, bad acid trips, worse hangovers, lashings of distortion and a lot of anthropomorphic thumbs. “Our opposable thumbs are the things that separate us from most other animals on Earth,” Pictish explains, of the fat digit symbolism, “they are also the things that we use to swipe on screens, to separate ourselves from our normal lives, but which in turn trap us within an artificial reality.”

      Produced and mixed by Rob Jones, featuring string arrangements from Kim Moore and drumming from Alex Thomas (Squarepusher, Anna Calvi, Air), Thumb World is Pictish Trail’s most collaborative album to date.

      An audio-visual dialogue with Swatpaz, AKA Scottish artist Davey Ferguson – the man behind the Turbo Fantasy series and an entire episode of cult TV phenomenon Adventure Time – furnished Johnny with not just a graphic aesthetic for the album, but even helped him to shape the sound of the finished record. “I sent Davey a work-in-progress mix of the album,” Johnny says, “he came back with sketches in which he had reimagined Thumb World as an 80’s arcade game. Some of the songs are centered around specific visual images, inspired by Davey’s sketches.”

      Due for release on Fire Records on February 21, 2020. Four years in the making, Thumb World is the much-anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed Scottish Album of the Year Award public vote winner Future Echoes.

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: This definitely falls solidly within my realm of interests,

      videogame aesthetic [x]
      superb production [x]
      brilliantly written tunes [x]

      It's got it all, and only goes to show how the super talented Johnny Lynch keeps smashing it out of the park. Ace stuff.

      TRACK LISTING

      Side A
      1 Repeat Neverending
      2 Double Sided
      3 Pig Nice
      4 Lead Balloon
      5 Fear Anchor

      Side B
      6 Slow Memories
      7 Bad Algebra
      8 Heart Eyes
      9 Turning Back
      10 Thumb World


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