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This is the limited edition CD version of the album. There is also a vinyl version, packaged with Vol.1, which can be purchased here.
SECRET SOUNDZ VOL.2 was written and recorded up on the Hebridean island of Eigg, and was produced by his friend Sweet Baboo, featuring King Creosote on accordion. It is a set of songs about corporeal and psychological isolation, and that curious sense of feeling lonely in a crowd. It’s about losing loved-ones, and gaining new. It’s about dangerous drinking, lost-connections, career insecurities and messing about with drum machines. It’s about switching the power off and back on again just when life seems to have crashed beyond reboot.
Inspired especially by Beck’s uncanny ability to shape-shift musically without ever losing that clarity of voice and vision which so defines all of his work, THE PICTISH TRAIL too bends and reshapes his output across the genre-spectrum – from dysfunctional disco and awkward alt-rock to rustic folk rambles – and yet always comes up with something that sounds definitively him.
‘Secret Sound #6’ and ‘Secret Sound #7’ are playfully wobbly day-glo electro instrumental titbits originally recorded for the soundtrack to a children’s film and re-contextualised here as aural idents linking back to his debut. ‘The Handstand Crowd’ is a gloriously melodic musing about peer-pressure and keeping the wrong company. Beneath an outwardly untroubled fug of dreamy synth and robotic programmed bass, ‘Wait Until’ addresses with almost unbearable frankness the passing of Johnny’s mother from cancer in 2011 – the life-event that couldn’t help but overwhelmingly shape all of these songs.
FENCE founder and fellow custodian KING CREOSOTE pops up to momentarily squeeze his accordion amid the pitch-shifted guitar gleam of ‘Michael Rocket’ – already released on a FENCE BUFF TRACKS EP, accompanied by a gorgeous video directed by BLAIR YOUNG. ‘Long In The Tooth’ – the album’s closer, and its oldest song – is about telling someone to f**k off in the jauntiest possible terms.
“It’s eclectic and wonderful, from the misty-eyed psychedelia of ‘Sequels’ to ‘The Handstand Crowd’ and ‘Michael Rocket’s tender, faraway melancholy and the glistening indie-pop of ‘Long in the Tooth’. It’s a rare album which manages to sound utterly immediate yet layered with hidden sounds and sensations, but as the name implies, this manages it. Deserved wider recognition surely awaits.” The List ****