Pearlfishers Reviews


Marina Records

The Pearlfishers: Across the Milky WayAcross the Milky Way (2001)

Magnet, September 2001

"It should come as no surprise David Scott's favorite album is 'Pet Sounds' or that he once produced an album called 'Caroline Now! The Songs Of Brian Wilson And The Beach Boys'. Over a 10-year period, the Glasgow-based leader of the Pearlfishers has displayed a penchant for writing Wilson-ish soft-pop nuggets that will have you whistling down the sunny side of the street. On 'Across The Milky Way' (the first Pearlfishers record to be released with U.S. distribution), we're again treated to an endless summer of carefree harmonies and sweet musings. On 'We'll Be The Summer', Scott wistfully recalls, 'I missed you in the chill of winter/ All the wide frosty roads stretched before me/ But springtime came and I began to feel alive/ I could see the good times coming.' Indeed, then he swoops down with an oh-so-happy, 'Then you came by, and I was the summer!' His fullblown arrangements include violins, cello, trumpet, flugelhorn and banjo. In a musical universe filled with many Beach Boys devotees, the Pearlfishers stand above the crowded surf." (Magnet, 09/01)

Spiegel Online, August 2001

"His dreamy guitar songs would do Robbie Williams good." (Spiegel Online, 04/08/01)

UNCUT, August 2001

"Sun-kissed homage to the most baroque and extravagant sounds of the Sixties. Soppy boys infatuated with The Beach Boys and soft pop in general are hardly thin on the ground in Glasgow. Nevertheless, David Scott, songwriting pivot of The Pearlfishers, is remarkable in his devotion: he helped co-ordinate last year's unusually decent Brian Wilson tribute LP, 'Caroline Now!'. 'Across The Milky Way' is full of delicate West Coast vibes and 'Let's Go Away For Awhile'-style instrumentals. It's hard not to be won over by the degree of affection that's gone into the detailing here. Banjos pick their way daintily through orchestral fantasias, Scott gets rheumy-eyed at childhood reminiscences and, on the terrific 'Sweet William', shows how Roddy Frame might have sounded had he opted for good taste over rock'n'roll ambition." (UNCUT, 08/01)

Seattle Weekly, June 2001

"Right now there's enough trouble in my Shangri-la without pulling out the Marc Almond albums. So when I come home and want to hear something theatrical, emotional, and marked by artifice, yet something that won't jangle my nerves any further, I pop on 'Across The Milky Way' (on Marina Recordings), the fourth full-length by the Pearlfishers, nom du disque of Glasgow's David Scott. Scott could soothe an infant with his lilting tenor, even as he unspools lyrics like 'Precious moments don't mean nothing/they just leave you sick and restless' ('Steady With You'). He even makes masturbation sound innocent and sunny: 'spilling my youth out in tissues on warm afternoons.' The Pearlfishers' sound is most commonly compared to Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys, which Scott has observed is inevitable any time a band uses more than three-part harmonies and the word 'summer' in the lyrics. But 'Across The Milky Way' also slots in nicely alongside seasoned indie-pop vets like Teenage Fanclub, the Pastels, and High Llamas in the five-disc changer. The instrumental 'The Vampires of Camelon,' featuring banjo and muted trumpet, suggests 'The Rainbow Connection' as arranged by Burt Bacharach, while it's pretty plain from the cheery title track that Scott was first in line at his local record emporium to buy Paul McCartney's 'Wingspan' retrospective. On the band's web site Scott lists the Monkees, Paul Williams, Scritti Politti, Marvin Gaye, and, um, Eminem, among his current favorites. 'Across the Milky Way' is full of swinging ditties, like 'Sweet William' and 'Paint On A Smile,' about finding contentment in a complicated world, even as the CD serves as a shortcut to those exact ends itself (and without any undue histrionics). So, to my forlorn buddy who made the mistake of conducting a protracted breakup via e-mail, only to find his comments passed on to all his friends by a grumpy dumpee with an itchy finger on the Forward button, I offer this advice: Buy this CD. Skip to Track 7, 'We'll Be the Summer.' Dance around the living room foolishly as Scott assures us that 'the seasons change/so do lovers.' Repeat as necessary. It'll make you much happier than those 20 hits of E." (Seattle Weekly, 14th ­ 20th June, 2001), June 2001

"The Pearlfishers are, in essence, David Scott. And David Scott may or may not be a pseudonym that Burt Bacharach works under these days because this record is a pretty close re-creation of his '60s pop sound. Many of the tracks roll and loll along in the most relaxing manner with cellos and violins to add atmosphere behind Scott's keyboards. A handful of others, such as 'New Stars' and particularly 'Steady With You' rock along in such a way that I can almost imagine them as the soundtrack while the frozen caveman chases Scooby Doo and the gang around the marina. From the photo of the kid on the beach flashing a peace sign to the childlike scrawls inside the liner to the song's blissful, gentle harmonies, this might be the most innocent record I've ever heard." (, June 2001), June 2001

"Last year, Pearlfisher David Scott spearheaded the fantastic tribute project entitled 'Caroline Now! The Songs Of Brian Wilson' (Marina), a simpatico labor of love featuring a couple dozen Wilson loyalists giving the man's work a heartwarming treatment. In fact, every fan of Wilson's work should snare a copy. It's no surprise then, given Scott's predisposition, that 'Across The Milky Way', the fourth installment of work by Scott's Pearlfishers, is suffused with Wilson-inspired artistry and minor-key arrangements. But Scott's own work doesn't simply end there. He is a talented and accessible melodicist who, like Wilson, isn't afraid to throw a sharp curveball at his listeners. Violins and cellos interrupt a propulsive new wave beat on 'Steady With You,' a banjo cuts through the same strings on 'Sweet William,' a Cole Porter piano trots the length of 'Paint On A Smile,' and a Bacharach trumpet adorns the sweet closer 'Is It Any Wonder?' Scott is a gifted songwriter, respectful of his heroes, but at the same time intent on forging his own style. It's an impressive combination that ends with very impressive results." (

Sunday Times, June 2001

"For more than a decade now, David Scott has been recording sublime, Beach Boys-influenced pop music without making much of an impact on the music-buying public - yet another artist who raises the question: why do all the songwriters who still write songs like they used to in the old days never seem to connect with the mass of people who mistakenly believe that nobody does any more?

This album is well up to Scott's high standard, mixing lush, West Coast-harmony-drenched ballads with faster, janglier pop songs. But this beautifully crafted work is not just a Beach Boys tribute. Scott has his own distinct vision; and as a further point of difference, it's unlikely that Brian Wilson ever suffered the ignonimy handed out to Scott when he was recently asked to play at a friend's wedding. 'Pick it up a bit, piano player!' yelled the vicar!" (Mark Edwards, Sunday Times, 3 June 2001)

Rolling Stone, June 2001

"One should send this record to Malibu. Brian Wilson would be smiling." (Rolling Stone, 6/01)

TV Spielfilm, June 2001

"Keiner nutzt das Erbe der Pop-Meister von Burt Bacharach ueber Brian Wilson bis Todd Rundgren so gewinnbringend wie der Schotte David Scott. Es klingt (Streicher, Fluegelhorn, Piano) nach 1967, aber es ist 2001 ­ manche Akkordfolgen sind eben unverwuestlich und ewig gueltig. Lern dies zu lieben, und dein Leben ist gleich viel schoener." (TV Spielfilm, 06/01)

Intro, June 2001

"David Scott, Saenger und Komponist der Pearlfishers, stammt aus Glasgow und entwirft seine traumhaft arrangierten Pop-Arien dort, wo man getrost aus Zuckerwatte Noten stricken darf. The Pearlfishers, das ist eben ungestreckter Nektar aus einem edlen Kelch, kein Dosenbier im Keller. Auf seinem mittlerweile dritten Album klingt alles wieder etwas reifer und nachhaltiger. Mehr Blaeser und Streicher, mehr Stimmen, mehr Harmoniewechsel. Nach dem blendenden Auftakt (dem Titelstueck 'Across The Milky Way' und 'New Stars') wird die Platte dann ueberwiegend ruhiger. Die Pearlfishers muss man sich nach Hause nehmen. Beim Hoeren sollte man ruhig mal das Fenster zur Hauptstrasse schliessen, um den vollen feinen Hoergenuss zu bekommen. Wenn das gute Stueck spaeter im Regal entspannen will, dann gesellt es sich gerne zu Teenage Fanclub, den High Llamas oder ­ perfekterweise ­ zum 'Caroline Now!'-Sampler, den David Scott letztes Jahr zu Ehren des genialen Brian Wilson mitproduziert hatte." (Intro, 06/01)


"Beach Boys, Beatles, Bacharach: Glasgows Pearlfishers konsolidieren mit diesem Album ihren tadellosen Ruf, die womoeglich feinste Legierung aus klassischem Pop-Rock à la Beatles, 'swooping Beach Boys harmonies' und der Arrangement-Finesse Burt Bacharachs zu sein. Der einzige 'echte' Perlenfischer David Scott lieferte 13 neue Songs, von denen 'New Stars', 'Sweet William' und 'When The Highway Ends' zu seinen bislang besten Taten ueberhaupt zaehlen. Auch die Realisierung uebernahm der Multiinstrumentalist grossteils selbst, freilich unterstuetzt von einer Horde Streicher und Blaeser. Es mag ja kitschig klingen, aber hier stroemt der Wohlklang aus unvergifteten Quellen und gerinnt ohne chemische Zusatzstoffe spontan zu atmosphaerisch dichten Songs von grosser Haltbarkeit." (TIP, 12/01)

WOM-Journal, June 2001

"David Scott meint es gut mit uns. Nicht nur, dass er letztes Jahr einer der Hauptaktivisten des grossartigen Brian-Wilson/Beach-Boys-Coveralbums 'Caroline Now!' war und sich in England mit Tribute-Shows für Ennio Morricone und Serge Gainsbourg einen Namen machte, er ist auch eifrig dabei, diese Welt mit seinen Pearlfishers eine bessere zu machen. Jedenfalls malt er uns ein Bild aus besseren Zeiten und bettet dies in einen zuckersuessen Luxus-Honig-Pop, der von unschuldigen Sommerurlauben am Strand traeumen laesst. Mit voller Orchesterunterstuetzung und exzessiver Melodiefuelle zaubert David Scott 50 Minuten Sonnenschein in unsere haeusliche Sphaere." (WOM-Journal, 6/01)

Spex, June 2001

"Nichts forciert die Wirkung von Musik mehr als die Erwaehnung von Sonne oder Schnee. Diese Platte treibt einem Traenen in die Augen und laesst innerlich erzittern. Es ist ein ruhiger, friedlicher Fruehlingsabend." (Spex, 6/01)


The Pearlfishers: The Young PicnickersThe Young Picnickers (1999)

MOJO, August 1999 (Featured artist on exclusive subscriber disc)

"Rickenbacker jangle, rococo ambition, melodic sophistication, vocal virtuosity - might the spirit of Brian Wilson visited the home of these young Glaswegians and their debut album The Young Picnickers (Mojo Indie Album of the Month)? Truly they can save the summer on this form. Teenage Fanclub's Norman Blake, on backing vocals, assists the cause - may the sun never set on 60s-inspired classic pop."

MOJO, June 1999 (Indie Album of the Month)

"Second outing from '60s-obsessed Glaswegian romantics, in which perfect pop's balls finally drop.

A glance at the inner-sleeve pic of chief 'Fishermen David Scott and Brian McAlpine confirms that they're just the right age for daytime Radio Two circa 1975 to have impacted on their nascent melodic faculties like a meteorite smashing into a remote Siberian forest. Indeed, with The Young Picnickers you're never far from a swooping Beach Boys harmony, a coolly placed Bacharach major seventh or an arresting Cole Porter-style chord change.

They've regurgitated their '60s influences into something quite beautiful and original, leaving their bedsits behind for the real world, while still fantasising about romance, adventure and Battersea Bardots. An Ordinary Day Out In The Suburbs, one of several tracks to resonate with lovingly crafted McCartneyesque melodies (think She's Leaving Home), is quite extraordinarily affecting, while the careful addition of flugelhorn, vibes and wheezing brass bathes virtually every song in glorious sunshine." Pat Gilbert

The Times, 27 March 1999 (7/10):

"Scottish duo David Scott and Brian McAlpine are clearly not too bothered about music made post-1968. This, their second (!) album, is so steeped in the sixties it is startling. But it doesn't mean their music lacks value. Their unashamed use of vibraphones and harpsichords should send most discerning listeners running in the opposite direction, but it seems to work. Why? Because of that elusive quality, superb songwriting. Once There Was A Man sounds beautiful; a kind of trad Haircut 100 with chiming glorious harmonies. Then there is the stupidly great pop of We're Gonna Save The Summer; Steely Dan covering The Undertones with backing vocals from bearded angels. It is even easy to forgive An Ordinary Day Out In The Suburbs homage to Gilbert O'Sullivan."

The Scotsman, 27 March 1999 (3 Stars):

Is it summer already? The warm blasts of The Young Picnickers would lead you to think so. East Kilbride's Davey Scott has produced his most satisfying album yet, steeped in the classic pop of Brian Wilson, Burt Bacharach and Steely Dan, and calling to mind latterday groups like Prefab Sprout, The High Llamas and even XTC. Sometimes he's a little too reverential. The title track is a Pet Sounds-type instrumental in which The Pearlfishers come over as a Scottish answer to Wilson scholars the High Llamas. Yet, though Scott is quite shameless about his influences, he's learned more from them than just how to imitate their sounds. With shining melodies and fine arrangements, he's inventive within the bounds he's set for himself, making a record that's never boring and always likeable.

The Daily Record:

The Pearlfishers release their brilliant new album, The Young Picnickers, the follow up to The Strange Underworld of the Tall Poppies, on the Hamburg based Marina Records, which has championed several Scots bands in recent years. As well as the Pearlfishers of David Scott and Brian McAlpine Picnickers features Norman Blake, of Teenage fanclub on We're Gonna Save The Summer, while BMX Bandits singer Duglas Stewart co-wrote one of the songs. Tall Poppies gave The Pearlfishers the dubious distinction of being "big in Japan". So let's hope this one gives them the recognition they deserve at home.

Scotland On Sunday, 18 April 1999 (3 Stars) :

Having survived stabs at the big time with Chewy Raccoon and Hearts and Minds, Davie Scott has reinvented himself as head archivist in the Scottish branch of the Sixties music museum. Surf's Up in a major fashion with this record, which recreates every studio trick Brian Wilson used to know, with Scott's autoharp adding a few European influences. The fact it was made in East Kilbride makes the achievement all the more laudable.

The Pearlfishers: Tall PoppiesThe Strange Underworld of the Tall Poppies (1997; reissued 2002)

The Sunday Times, 11th August 2002 (3 Stars: Outstanding):

"At a time when Brian Wilson is finally receiving the acclaim - indeed reverence - that he deserves, there must surely be a bigger audience out there for the immaculate summery pop of the Pearlfishers. The Scottish band's German label have thoughtfully reissued their 1997 debut album so that all those who have flocked to Wilson's shows can check it out.

Technically, there was a Pearlfishers album a few years before this one, but it's on Tall Poppies that the real Pearlfishers sound emerges, and we discover that David Scott is one of the few living mortals who can get their heads round exactly what Brian Wilson did in the studio. I have to tread a fine line here. I don't want to leave you thinking that the Pearlfishers are just some Beach Boys tribute band. You'll also hear traces of the Monkees, the Left Banke, Jimmy Webb and even Paul McCartney on Poppies; Scott is a man who knows when the best pop was made and has chosen to work with the musical vocabulary of that era. But the simple fact is that, if Brian Wilson brought out an album tomorrow with songs on it as good as this album's Cherry Sky or Banana Sandwich, it would be heralded as a triumphant return to form. Scott really is that good." Mark Edwards


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