Pearlfishers The Young Picnickers

The Pearlfishers' David Scott has obviously heard some Beach Boys records in his time. And he also subscribes to the Burt Bacharach school of songwriting, too - he wears his influences on his sleeve and even a casual listen to The Young Picnickers will reveal that almost every track is a homage to one of his heroes. It probably isn't a complete coincidence that Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake appears on one track (providing backing vocals), because the two bands share that melodic pop sensibility so many Scottish bands seem to have. From the lead track, "We're Gonna Save The Summer," to the delicate ballad "Blue December," this is an album that is packed with memorable songs. Even the downbeat ones could hardly be called depressing - there's a sweetness underneath that keeps the proceedings agreeable. You simply won't find a better soundtrack for the summer months. It isn't the one dimensional album that it might initially appear to be, because the arrangements have the kind of depth that is revealed with repeated listens - the richness of the gorgeous vocal harmonies will slowly be exposed and you'll discover that the harpsichord is a more subtle instrument than you'd ever imagine. Not much new ground has been covered since their 1997 album, The Strange Underworld Of The Tall Poppies, but they still write finely crafted pop songs that demand to be heard. (Page)