Pearlfishers Across The Milky Way

Scotland's the Pearlfishers are regarded as one of those accomplished bands whose recorded work is almost universally celebrated by all who hear it. The one true member of the band, David Scott, obviously agonises over every word and note to ensure the overall sound is just perfect, and that kind of attitude shows. Those expecting the Pearlfishers' third album to sound drastically different from their previous work will be sorely disappointed, but then again, anyone who did hear any of their older work will probably be glad that they didn't make any extreme changes. So basically, they've carried on with their career as the most faithful Beach Boys impersonators around - glorious harmonies and intricate arrangements abound. Across The Milky Way isn't just Pet Sounds volume 59, though, other influences such as the Byrds, the Beatles and Burt Bacharach creep in, combining to give the album a classic feel. There are some more contemporary touches - flashes of keyboards that hint towards Stereolab - but the heavy orchestration (with an emphasis on strings) dominates most songs. Across The Milky Way is a subtler album than its predecessors, and some may be put off after a single listen because of the lack of immediacy. Still, this is the kind of album that will stand the test of time and gets better with repeated listens; it might even restore your faith in pop. (Marina)