Meursault, live at Limbo

Quite simply one of Limbo’s favourite bands in Scotland, Edinburgh electro-folk dons Meursault continue to wow and inspire everyone in their path who falls under their magic spells. 2010 saw them tour their sound all over Europe, promoting second album All Creatures Will Make Merry.  There have been changes to the original line-up since then.

MEURSAULT take their name from the work of French existentialist philosopher Albert Camus but the bleak images singer-songwriter Neil Pennycook conjures with his plaintive voice belie a much broader palette of emotions than Camus’s eponymous monochrome protagonist ever exhibits in The Outsider. And with the genius addition of laptop electronica, accordion, banjo, autoharp, mandolin and ukelele, the wealth of colour, light and joy he and his band adds to his songs makes them each a thing of singular beauty. Imagine The Aphex Twin dueling with Thom Yorke (which actually ought to happen, given the debt owed to the former by the latter, post Ok Computer, but that’s another yarn).

Official Biog

Pronounced “Murr-So”, Meursault are a collective based in Edinburgh, Scotland. Forming in 2005 as a solo outlet for Neil Pennycook, the line-up has slowly coalesced into a settled sextet of Pennycook, Fraser Calder, Chris Bryant, Calum McLeod, Phillip Quirie and Pete Harvey.

In 2006, a then 3-piece Meursault self-released an EP entitled “Making the Most of the Raw Materials of Futility” but it ended up being representative of a band who had yet to really get a feel for what they wanted to sound like and where they were going with their music. But by the time they released “Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing with Tongues”, first as a self-release in April 2008, then again on Song, by Toad Records in December of the same year, they had developed a very distinctive character based around a shifting interplay of electronic and traditional instruments.

Regular gig goers have probably experienced most of their songs played at both ends of this spectrum at some point, and pretty much anywhere in between. ‘Small Stretch of Land’ and ‘William Henry Miller’ seem (so far) to exist solely in the acoustic realm, but they are very much the exceptions.  Everything else seems to exist equally comfortably as a simple acoustic folk song, or as a thunderous blast of impassioned electronica and almost any imaginable blend of the two, and this could easily describe the band themselves, who seem equally comfortable playing sets in either guise, and with a rotating cast, varying from Neil Pennycook playing small, intimate solo shows to a full 6-piece line-up, or anywhere inbetween.

With the 2009 release of acoustic EP “Nothing Broke”, a companion to their debut album, that scope is now fully expressed in their releases as well. Their catalogue now showcases a group who can be as gently heartbreaking as they can wildly forceful, and it is difficult to know how best to tell people about them, but their versatility and willingness to experiment gives people a lot of ways to get into this band. The band’s popularity and profile was enhanced thanks to recent sessions on Vic Galloway’s Radio One Scotland show and Marc Riley’s BBC 6 Music show, aswell as a BBC Introducing session recorded at Maida Vale in April 2010.

Second full-length album, “All Creatures Will Make Merry” was released on Song, by Toad Records on May 31st, 2010. Distributed by Proper.

Following a successful three week tour of mainland Europe in April and May of 2010, the summer will see Meursault perform at many summer festivals including Walk The Line (Netherlands), Rockness (Scotland), Fusion (Germany), Glastonbury (England), and End of the Road (England). In addition to this, November and December will see the band return to mainland Europe for another headline tour.


‘Pennycook’s urgent voice personifies the collision between the Reid brothers and Guy Garvey … the results are compelling’ Mojo

‘Completely absorbed and unselfconscious’ Word Magazine

‘After a spin of this sublime record only one word will pass your lips: magnificent’ The Skinny

‘Simultaneosly romantic, intensely bleak and wryly funny.’ The Scotsman

‘Meursault are, you know, new favourite band good.’ Drowned in Sound

‘All Creatures Will Make Merry announces Meursault as one of the best bands in Scotland. The musicianship and songwriting is outstanding. They are definitely a band that will keep you guessing and always produce something unexpected and exciting. Surely that is why we fall in love with bands such as Meursault.’ Line of Best Fit

‘Folk-inspired and electronically augmented, there’s a quiet drama about Meursault’s gloriously morose melodies which is matched by frontman Neil Pennycook’s cracked, yelping tones.’ Bearded Magazine

‘The pulsating chimes of ‘Crank Resolutions’ and ‘Weather’’s sleepy acoustic echoes offer moments of more immediate beauty, whereas tracks like ‘New Ruin’ or the bittersweet balladry of ‘Sleet’ make for a slow-burning and truly engrossing listen’ Clash Music Magazine

‘strong on existential angst, Arab Strap rage and self loathing…equally capable of the lovelorn misery of King Creosote or James Yorkston… Meursault do it uncommonly well:completely absorbed and unselfconcious, they vitally don’t use the noise as an excuse not to write any tunes’ Word

‘A gold medal to distorted pop cabal Meursault…. chock-a-block with rowdy aural confections and gilded treats’ Plan B

Meursault also now have their own Wikipedia entry

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