For the eagle-eyed amongst you – or, basically, just those of you with Facebook – you may have noticed the recent announcement that August’s Pale Imitation show at the Queen’s Hall will be the last ever Meursault show.
It’s weird, this. There’s a large sense in which it’s none of my business, of course, but Meursault were the first band we seriously released, way back in late 2008, so it’s quite an important event from the the point of view of both myself and the label. It’s very fair to say that, initially at least, our reputation hinged on being Meursault’s record label. We’ve diversified since then, of course, but having them on the books from the off meant that people took us way more seriously than they would have otherwise.
Neil will continue to make music, of course, and a lot of his current collaborators will continue to work with him, so from a fan’s point of view I really don’t think too much will change.
You might ask, if that’s the case, why bother killing off Meursault, and I have to confess that I can’t quite answer that. People all know that Meursault is based around the songwriting, delivery and generally also the arrangements and production of Neil Pennycook, so Meursault can be whatever he wants it to be, surely. Song, by Toad is my voice on the internet, whatever I chose that to be, so when the Friday Fives and Monday listings became a serious chore to write every week I just killed them off, because labouring through those posts every week was threatening to sap my enjoyment of writing.
Having said that, creative identities can end up developing their own sense of confinement. In some ways the commercial damage done by having to relaunch a new band into the world will probably be quite liberating. Maybe we can finally, finally hear the end of terms like folk-fucking-tronica, and perhaps the general music industry perception that each project by a band needs to be bigger and more ambitious than the last will also be sidestepped. So as much as I don’t think I would have made this particular decision myself, I can certainly understand it.
Then again, no one Meursault album has ever sounded all that much like any other anyway, so will the next project be wildly different from what has come before? I don’t know, but as I said, I doubt there will be much difference from a fan’s perspective. The new project, whatever it ends up being, will probably sound as unlike Meursault as any of the Meursault albums sounded like their predecessors, but the industry and the wider, less actively interested public will probably see things a little differently, and I think that will probably be enough.
Myself, well, there’s that ‘end of an era’ nostalgia, but I don’t really mind all that much, to be honest. I just want to hear whatever music happens next, irrespective of what it’s called. I guess we’ll see. So with a bit of luck I’ll see you at the Queen’s Hall, and we can bid goodbye to the band who have given us a shitload of truly phenomenal music over the years. The King is dead, long li… no, hang on, that’s too clichéd even for me.
I guess I’ll just end with a song I heard on my first ever visit to the band’s MySpace page. A visit where I thought ‘holy fuck, what the hell is going on here’, and the rest, as they say, is hist… no, sorry, fuck that, no more clichés, I promise.