They’re back – and they’re back with a bang! Five years after their last album Open Up Your Colouring Book, Glasgow’s magnificent Pearlfishers return with a brand new album. It’s their eighth on Marina Records – a superb comeback full of masterful, classic pop music, driven by main man David Scott’s exceptional songwriting and arrangements.
The album kickstarts with its beautiful title track – a song in the tradition of British songwriters like Paddy McAloon and Michael Head – about ordinary people dreaming and drowning in the big city. “Another foggy Monday morning / Sail the ferry to town / And think of all the people’s dreams...”. The song is led by a Bacharach-like flugel horn motif played by Colin Steele who recorded an entire album of Pearlfishers songs in terrific jazz arrangements: Diving For Pearls (Marina, 2017). The song also features a beautiful string quartet which recalls the graceful understatement of George Martin’s classic pop arrangements.
Could Be A Street Could Be A Saint is a celebration of life during the pre-Christmas days on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street: “People are beautiful...”. You can hear the influence of Scottish popsters Pilot whose stacked acoustics and harmonies defined pop sheen in the 70s. The track finds its counterpoint in A Walk Into The Blue Night where you enter a magical world of “sainted streets“ where songs start to flow – with an Ennio Morricone-like combination of minor key harmonies and orchestration.
You Can Take Me There proves that you can create captivating soundscapes with just piano, vocals and a tiny bit of guitar. The track flows on a sublime Gilbert O’Sullivan groove – also reminiscent of Laura Nyro, one of Scott’s heroes.
A long-lasting Pearlfishers tradition continues with the inclusion of a quirky instrumental: A Woman On The Verge Of Becoming A Cyclist (talking about quirky!) sounds a lost 70s movie theme - culminating in a brass band fanfare.
Love & Other Hopeless Things also features two splendid songwriting-collaborations. Once I Lived In London was written with Bill DeMain – Nashville broadcaster, Grammy-nominated author and member of US duo Swan Dive. The beautiful piece of chamber pop recalls London in the 80s: “I sang Spandau Ballet’s ‘True’ / Jobim, Yazz, The Plastic People too...”. Sometimes It Rains In Glasgow was written and performed with Joni Mitchell/Carole King-influenced Becci Wallace. Fab!
The wistful ballad Another Sunflower closes the album on an emotional note. Revisiting the Pearlfishers’ seasonal album A Sunflower At Christmas (2004), this New Year’s Eve song is augmented by a stunning string arrangement and some simple advice: Don’t make resolutions and promises, just keep moving through the wildwood...
“Close your eyes and keep believing now...” It’s pop music!***
Release date: April 26, 2019 (MA 84) - CD/LP/DL
Further info and soundfiles: www.marinarecords.com/ma84.html
Each order via Marina Mailorder comes with a set of Pearlfishers postcards
Congratulations! Yippie-Aye-Yay-Yay! Bang! Marina Records celebrates its 25th anniversary with the release of Goosebumps, a deluxe compilation featuring 40 stunning tracks on two groovy compact discs. Goosebumps includes many unreleased cuts and exclusive contributions, as well as selected nuggets from the label catalogue. The splendid booklet features more than 100 photographs from the Marina archive. The strictly limited 3-LP edition comes with beautifully designed innersleeves and individually coloured wax. Orange - Yellow - Red.
Marina Records, founded by Stefan Kassel and Frank Lähnemann in Hamburg 25 years ago, is not only known for its distinctive sleeve design which has been praised in several cover art books, but also for its eclectic, unique artist roster and its devotion to classic pop songwriting. Their fabulous The In-Kraut compilation series even turned out to define a genre of its own. Kickstarting with Brent Cash’s pop smash Digging The Fault Line, Goosebumps features artists as diverse as exceptional Glasgow funk sextet Gazelle and Chris Thomson’s beloved chamber pop outfit The Bathers (who released three albums on Marina) from the early days of the label - to the lushly orchestrated Morricone-like soundscapes of Starless and jazz trumpeter Colin Steele, two recent signings. Steele gave the wonderful songs of The Pearlfishers the royal jazz treatment with exciting new arrangements. The Pearlfishers themselves recorded seven albums for Marina so far (their forthcoming album Love And Other Hopeless Things will be out in early 2019). Their songwriting has been compared to Paul McCartney, Jimmy Webb and Brian Wilson. They contribute the previously unreleased The Time Is Right. They also recorded a fantastic cover version of The Pale Fountains’ Southbound Excursion - under the nom de plume The Pale Fishers. Another exclusive on this compilation.
The Pale Fountains themselves are featured with The Norfolk Broads - a track from their Marina anthology Longshot For Your Love. Pale Fountains songwriter Michael Head makes a second appearance with Dragonfly from the Shack album Waterpistol. Released by Marina in 1995 - and rated by many critics as one of the best British albums ever. In 2001 Marina effectively initiated the reformation of sunshine pop legends The Free Design. McCarran Airport hails from their comeback album Cosmic Peekaboo. Only With You by Norman Blake of Teenage Fanclub and I Wanna Pick You Up by Alex Chilton originate from Marina’s bestselling album “Caroline Now! The Songs Of Brian Wilson & The Beach Boys” (“Album of the month” in UNCUT).
Eccentric Orange Juice founding member James Kirk recorded his pop-tastic solo album You Can Make It If You Boogie for Marina in 2003. He joins Scottish super-group Port Sulphur on the groovy Orient Express. Felicity, one of his classic Orange Juice songs, is featured in a special, as yet unreleased “Party Mix”. Boogie! Two other Scottish music legends - both of Josef K fame - are featured on Goosebumps: Malcolm Ross and Paul Haig. Marina released the definite Josef K compilation Endless Soul and two solo albums by Malcolm Ross.
Chris Thomson of The Bathers also appears with an early, unreleased Friends Again track from 1981: Sweet Jane, a cover version of the Velvet Underground song (VU are part of the Marina universe, too - Sunday Morning is included on Benjamin von Stuckrad-Barre’s compilation Autodiscographie). German sound innovator extraordinaire/soundtrack wizzard Peter Thomas is featured with the mind-blowing instrumental Multi-Kolored Mini-Skirts. He described his Marina anthology Moonflowers & Mini-Skirts as “the best documentation of my work ever”.
Goosebumps comes to a perfect close with Goodbye (She Quietly Says) by Cowboy Mouth. A killer rendition of a track from Frank Sinatra’s song cycle Watertown - exclusively recorded for this compilation and beautifully sung by Grahame Skinner (Hipsway/Jazzateers). “She reaches out across the table / looks at me / and quietly says goodbye...”. Sigh!
Goosebumps - 25 years of pure pop heaven. Marina - probably the best label in the world.
Release date: September 28, 2018 (MA 83) - 2-CD/3-LP/DL
Further info and soundfiles: www.marinarecords.com/ma83.html
Each order via Marina Mailorder comes with an exclusive set of six Goosebumps postcards.
"Beautiful life-affirming music” - HMV CHOICE
“Colin Steele can unfurl the Chet Baker arabesques” - THE TIMES
Marina Records proudly presents one of its most unusual and best releases yet: The music of The Pearlfishers, one of Marina’s most beloved acts, gets the royal jazz treatment in exciting new arrangements by the Colin Steele Quartet. Continuing a great jazz tradition - like Miles Davis with “Porgy & Bess” (’58) and Chet Baker with “Plays Lerner & Loewe” (’59) - the entire album is dedicated to the work of one composer - David Scott of The Pearlfishers. Colin Steele from Edinburgh, one of UK’s leading jazz trumpeters, adds his very own sound and interpretations to Scott’s songs and transports them into a brand new musical territory.
Steele has a long association with The Pearlfishers since he appeared as a studio musician on many of their albums. Steele: “I’d played on many sessions with The Pearlfishers before, and have a similiar taste in music with David Scott, with our shared love of Burt Bacharach, Beatles and Beach Boys. I was impressed by the depth of the beautiful melodies and could immediately hear my own voice playing these melodies - specifically using the ‘Miles Davis sound’ of the Harmon mute.”
The results are simply gorgeous. The album kickstarts with the joyous blast of “The Bluebells” - a song that originally appeared on the Pearlfishers album “Up With The Larks”. Colin Steele makes it swing and rise just beautifully. His warm, melodic playing and tone is also a perfect match for the wonderful “Everything Works Out”, one of Scott’s most enduring songs. “The Vampires Of Camelon” rides on a great piano riff reminiscent of Vince Guaraldi - brilliantly played by Dave Milligan, Steele’s long-time collaborator, who also arranged the album. Quite fabulously so.
"Ice Race" - from the Pearlfishers' seasonal album "A Sunflower At Christmas" - gets propelled to new heights by the powerhouse drumming of Alyn Cosker. It just grabs you and won't let go. "Gone In The Winter" is a superb showcase for the exceptional deep-toned, warm double-bass playing of Calum Gourlay. Just stunning.
The piano intro of "The Umbrellas of Shibuya" quite fittingly recalls the stripped-down beauty of Ryuichi Sakamoto. And then Steele breezes in with the fantastic melody and his imaginative playing. The album comes to a perfect close with the blissful coda "Swan Dreams" (originally from "Sky Meadows"). Simply sublime.
"Diving For Pearls" was recorded in just one day - like many of the great jazz albums - at Scotland's famous Castlesound studios (The Blue Nile, Orange Juice, R.E.M.). Masterfully engineered by Stuart Hamilton. You really get the "in-the-room-with-the-artist" feel. Dive, baby, dive!
The album will see its live debut performance at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival on July 17.
Release date: July 28, 2017 (MA 82) - CD/LP/DL
Further info and soundfiles: www.marinarecords.com/ma82.htm
Brent Cash - The New High
"Stylistic wonder: Brent Cash's third LP channels super-sophisticated pop. Each song comes on like some long-lost 45." - UNCUT
"Earworm melodies sit atop obliquely shifting piano chords and inventive arrangements. Cash has created a sound that both pays tribute to its forerunners and adds new depth. Dig the new breed!" - SHINDIG!
Brent is back. After a six-year-long hiatus, the multi-instrumentalist from Athens, GA (home to R.E.M. and The B-52s, among others) returns with his third and probably best album yet. Continuing the tradition of his previous, widely celebrated albums “How Will I Know If I’m Awake” and “How Strange It Seems”, he once again enters melody wonderland - evoking classic pop songwriting from the 60s and 70s - chock-full of sophisticated arrangements, richly textured vocal harmonies and extravagant key changes. It’s proof that pop music is alive and well in 2017.
Brent decided to record the album Todd Rundgren-style this time. Each and every instrument is played by the man himself - except for the string section. It adds an earthy edge to his sunshine pop brilliance.
The album kickstarts with title track “The New High”, a song that builds and builds until you finally reach, well, the new high (“Why does it feel so good?”). “Out For Blood” recalls The Beach Boys’ “Wild Honey” period - classy, soulful technicolor vocal harmonies layered upon a great rhythm track. The quirky “The Wrong Thing” captures the playful pop majesty of Gilbert O’Sullivan. It even features a crazy fiddle. “Careful if you run with me / It’s gonna be a bumpy ride / Heaven disavows the alchemy...”
“Every Inflection“ is pure pop heaven - sounding like a lost late 60s AM radio hit - with a super-cool Wurlitzer solo. “Dim Light” is full of wicked twists and turns - even featuring a Beatles-like Mellotron. It takes you on a musical trip in many different sections and evolves like a mini-movie. “The Way You Were” - a song about a love gone wrong - is a special highlight, wearing its Lennon/McCartney influences on its sleeve. “Let me shout it now from the mountaintops / Oh Lord, how I love the way / Love the way you were...”
“I‘m Looking Up” - driven by a cool Carole King-like piano part - is a hit song in the waiting. Check out the beautiful sun-soaked string section! They just don’t do records like this anymore. “The Dusk Song” is another special treat on the album. The hypnotic piano riff just grabs you - and takes you deep into Van Dyke Parks territory. “All around is orange and the crow is still bitching / About something in the distance...”. The slowly rolling, mournful “Fade/Return” - accompanied by cascading ocean sounds - is a cinematic widescreen beauty with a bewitching orchestra part. 10cc anyone?
The album ends with the acoustic guitar coda “Perfection Comes Near”. Well, it certainly does on this album. Get high on “The New High”, brothers & sisters! It’s the perfect soundtrack to cruise into golden sunsets along the California coast line.
Release date: January 27, 2017. CD / LP / DL
The CD edition is housed in a 4-panel digipak plus 12-page booklet. The vinyl edition comes with an innersleeve feat. lyrics and artwork.