‘Island Family’, the fifth album from Isle-of-Eigg dwelling electro-acoustic psych-pop wonder Pictish Trail, AKA Johnny Lynch is out now. A strange, unpredictable, sardonic and yet deeply personal record inspired by all from Fever Ray to The Flaming Lips, Liars, Mercury Rev and Beck, ‘Island Family’ is Pictish Trail’s contrarian view of arcadia; a search for the euphoric in the bucolic, bound up in sometimes conflicting ideas and feelings around nature and environment, sincerity and artifice, escapism and belonging. It’s an album about how no man can remain an island, however hard he might try.
Produced by long-term collaborator Rob Jones (The Voluntary Butler Scheme, The Gene Dudley Group), title track ‘Island Family’ is a song of death, ghosts and the ties that bind, fusing abrasive electronic beats with a tongue-in-cheek fireside folk refrain and the haunted ice cream van melody of a digitally reincarnated traditional Scottish jig.
‘Melody Something’ is the album’s purest moment, a cautiously uplifting solar-powered-ballad about losing track of time in the cycle of the seasons, and the gap between memory and reality.
When not putting out his own music as Pictish Trail, Johnny is a fulcrum of Scotland and the UK’s independent music community. Through his label Lost Map Records, he champions a diverse and idiosyncratic array of talent and has helped to elevate the likes of Rozi Plain, Alabaster dePlume, Seamus Fogarty, Bas Jan, Callum Easter and Free Love to new heights to name just a few. Lost Map’s Howlin’ Fling Festival which Johnny curates roughly every other year on Eigg (global pandemics notwithstanding), has welcomed special guests from Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle to James Holden, Beth Orton, Alexis Taylor, Jon Hopkins, Jane Weaver, Jens Lekman, Cate Le Bon, Gruff Rhys and Gwenno. It’s a life-affirming experience that sees all the exceptional music, creative energy and tireless good vibes that Johnny helps put out into the world all come piling back to his for a party like no other.
Pictish Trail’s critically acclaimed albums ‘Secret Soundz’ Vols. 1 & 2 released 2008 and 2013 respectively were gloriously eclectic slices of lo-fi folk-pop, revived as a deluxe double-vinyl in 2014 by Moshi Moshi. Third album ‘Future Echoes’ was released to further acclaim in 2016, and was shortlisted for the Scottish Album of the Year Award by popular vote, before being re-issued by Fire Records in 2018. ‘Thumb World’ was released on Fire in 2020. Pictish Trail has toured the world with Belle & Sebastian, Sea Power, Slow Club and KT Tunstall. He has performed at festivals including Glastonbury, Field Day, Bestival, Deer Shed, Celtic Connections, the Edinburgh Fringe and – for an extraordinary and surely record-breaking 19 consecutive years* (*counting a remote livestreamed show in 2020) – Green Man in Wales, Pictish Trail’s psychedelic-bucolic spiritual home-from-home.
Pictish Trail’s ‘Island Family’ is out 18th March on Fire Records. Available on Limited Edition Green Vinyl, Black LP, CD & Digital.