New Meursault Singles Out Today

WHM1-DirtRoots Meursault’s new singles are out today, and have been awarded Single of the Week in Drowned in Sound (thanks Wendy!) and have also been nominated for Single of the Week on The 405 (go here to vote, and please do because, erm, who the fuck are Frankie & the Heartstrings, no disrespect intended).

These singles are released on a pair of clear vinyl 7″s, with the really rather gorgeous artwork having been done by Chris from the band, and frankly I think they look fantastic.

The songs themselves, however, had a slightly more uneasy ride.  The tracks on this release are the album versions of The Dirt & the Roots and A Few Kind Words as double A-sides with new recordings of William Henry Miller Parts One and Two respectively, and the first time I heard those new recordings I was rather taken aback.

KindWords-WHM2 Everyone who knows these songs already will know the incredibly sparse acoustic versions from the Nothing Broke EP, but these are a totally different proposition.  Slowed down (in the case of Part 2 almost to a standstill) and incredibly densely layered, they take full advantage of new band memebers Phil Quirie on electric guitar and Pete Harvey on cello.  There are guest vocals provided by Bart from eagleowl and Dan from Withered Hand, and the results may be a shock to the system for fans of the acoustic versions.  As Neil said when he first played them to us: “I thought I’d finally written a song you really didn’t like.”

Give it a few weeks, however and these bloody singles are never off the stereo in Toad Hall.  William Henry Miller Part Two, became a favourite pretty much instantaneously – in fact it’s just about my favourite song of the year.  There’s something about the wailed vocals, rhythmic piano and the truly stunning layers of cello which I just can’t stop listening to.

Part One took a little longer to get used to.  To a degree it sounds like the version from Nothing Broke has had a stroke; the beginning is all thick and slow, a mile from the jaunty handclaps of the acoustic version.  Somehow though I find myself preferring this one these days.  I don’t know why, but I think it’s because there’s just something odd and unsettling about it now.

It’s funny how the two new recordings seem to fit with the songs from Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues as well.  In terms of clearing the decks for the new album and drawing 2009 to a close, these singles seem about perfect.

They can be bought as a pair or individually from the Song, by Toad Records site, recently given a very, very snazzy redesign by Andy from Nonimage.  Preview pretty much all of these on the Meursault MySpace page if you like, and digital versions are available from the likes of iTunes and Amazon mp3 as well.

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