Last year, having pushed in a more commercial direction with the SAY Award-nominated ‘Something for the Weakened’, Meursault’s Neil Pennycook decided to disband his band and concentrate instead on Supermoon, a return to the sparser, DIY methods of his earlier material.
‘Oh, Supermoon Vol. 1’ introduces this new work, its nine songs the sketches of an artist reacquainting himself with his chosen medium. Elements of the past remain in Pennycook’s way with a melancholic melody and his distinctive vocal, though where once they served as part of a more intricate whole, now they stand alone. It’s a brave step but one that seems to suit given the strength of material here.
‘Oh Supermoon!’ starts things off with guitar to the fore and reverb soaked vocals before giving way to the mournful, distant piano of ‘New Boy’. ‘Supermoon vs. Black Friday’ finds Pennycook ‘Drinking by myself and facing down my ghosts’ while ‘Death to Meursault’ looks for resolution in the lines “If you’ve nothing nice to say / Try singing it to me”. Elsewhere, ‘Klopfgeist’ in built upon percussive looped samples, ‘A Gentleman’s Guide’ features folk guitar and ‘Ode to Gremlin’ combines an awkward shuffling beat with piano while Pennycook sings “The last thing that the world needs now / is another song about the fucking sea”.
Last track ‘Cobra vs. Mongoose’ is a slight ditty about forced festivity at Christmas, its caustic lyrics delivered on a beautiful melody that concludes in a brilliantly brutal fashion. This last line, incidentally the best use of a certain four letter word since ‘Autumn’ by Malcolm Middleton, is indicative of the confidence and creative freedom Pennycook has found in the Supermoon moniker and put to great use across this record. Here’s to Volume 2.