Pictish Trail announces new EP ‘Follow Footsteps’. Listen to ‘Melody Something (Summer Redux)’ out now

Isle-of-Eigg dwelling psych-pop wonder Pictish Trail, AKA Johnny Lynch, released his acclaimed fifth album ‘Island Family’  in 2022. As he works on a much-anticipated follow-up, Johnny has decided to revisit the family of songs that made up ‘Island Family’  once again, and present “reduxes” of three of them in brand new, stripped-back form, recorded together with a specially assembled trio of musicians: Semay Wu on cello, Gillian Fleetwood on harp, and long-time collaborator Susan Bear on keys/bass. The resulting EP, ‘Follow Footsteps’, will be released on limited-edition 12” vinyl in a gold-foil print sleeve, via Lost Map Records on September 13, 2024, as well as on digital platforms via Fire Records.

Pictish Trail will be playing some of these reduxes live at tour dates throughout the summer and autumn, including at Green Man in August, in his 22nd consecutive appearance at the Welsh festival. By putting the wild, untamed euphoric-bucolic psychedelia of ‘Island Family’, ‘Melody Something’  and ‘Nuclear Sunflower Swamp’  through a softer filter – complimented by a pair of short incidental instrumentals in ‘Follow Footsteps’  and ‘Flowers Rising Into The Black’  – Pictish Trail has discovered delicately kaleidoscopic new resonance in the songs. He credits it with “revitalising” his whole approach to music making.

On the making of the ‘Follow Footsteps’  EP, Johnny writes:

 “I’ve been working on writing songs for my sixth album as Pictish Trail for the past year, and wanted to try out something a bit different. Island Family came out just as lock-down restrictions were being lifted. It was an energetic, noisy, and distorted record, very much mirroring the frustration of being kept at home. Over the course of the next two years, I performed it loads with my full band, multiple headline tours, playing a ton of festivals, as well as supporting artists such as Pavement and Mogwai. The shows were sweaty and loud; making a racket felt cathartic. “By the end of that album campaign though, I decided to strip everything back, and do some shows on my own. I headed out on the road with my acoustic guitar, and sampler. It was fun reconnecting with older songs, from when I first started out – and figuring out how to play the songs from the last album in a similar style. “I’ve worked closely with my dear friend Susan Bear for the past 10 years – releasing music she made with her band Tuff Love, as well as solo stuff under her own name (including this year’s album, Algorithmic Mood Music). She’s also been a member of the Pictish Trail live band since 2014, as well as performing with other Lost Map acts. A staple of the Glasgow music scene, she also performs with The Pastels, Sacred Paws, Goodnight Louisa and does sound design and composition for theatre productions. “Suse got in touch with me after one of my solo shows, saying she wanted to record the songs acoustically, capturing the intimacy of the performance. For years I’ve resisted doing anything like this, as a way of fighting off the dreaded ‘folk’ term – which seems to follow me wherever I go, whether I release an electronic-dance record or an industrial noise pop song. We talked it through, though. I did want to try this approach with some older songs, to present them with a different perspective. Suse introduced me to the music of Mitski, and I introduced her to Bonnie Prince Billy’s Master And Everyone. We hatched a plan. “At the very start of 2024 I travelled down to La Chunky Studios in Glasgow, spending a few days recording guitar and vocal takes, along with Suse on electric piano and bass. We worked on three songs from Island Family – they sounded beautiful, but immediately we knew that they would benefit from some further accompaniment. My first thought was cello and harp, with my friends Semay Wu (The Earlies) and Gillian Fleetwood. “It has been revitalising to try this approach, working with different players – and I’m so happy with the recordings. It definitely feels like it has scratched an itch. There was a point where I was wondering whether I should have made a full album in this style – but it felt more natural to keep these songs together, as they had been written at the same time, and I didn’t want to get bogged down working on older songs for too long, while I’m in the process of writing new ones. Plus, everyone likes an EP, right?”

New single taken from the ‘Follow Footsteps’ EP, released on limited edition 12″ vinyl (Lost Map) and digitally (Fire Records)


Pictish Trail Artist Page


18 Jul: Pop Mutations Festival, Glasgow, UK
19 Jul: The Tolbooth, Stirling, UK
20 Jul: Old Bridge Inn, Fantastic Man, Aviemore, UK
27 Jul: Lunarpalooza Festival, Edinburgh, UK
18 Aug: Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, UK
25 Sep: The Lending Room, Leeds, UK
26 Sep: Common Ground, Oxford, UK
27 Sep: Green Door Store, Brighton, UK
28 Sep: Kings Place, London, UK
29 Sep: The Prince Albert, Stroud, UK
30 Sep: The Engine Room, North Shields, UK
04 Oct: Leith Cricket Club, Edinburgh, UK
25 Oct: The Crown Hotel, Nantwich, UK
26 Oct: Boia Festival, St, Davids, UK
27 Oct: Boia Festival, St, Davids, UK


Pictish Trail ‘Follow Footsteps’


The psychedelic sound of the Inner Hebrides... absolutely love it!

Lauren Laverne, BBC6 Music