The Independent Scrutineer

Today I have mostly been listening to The Independent Scrutineer, Pagan Wanderer Lu‘s new EP. It’s very highly recommendable, and well worth the fiver I paid for it.

Unlike his previous releases, The Independent Scrutineer comes on a properly pressed CD (rather than a CD-R) and in a shiny jewel case with full-colour printing, though I know that in time I’ll miss the look and feel of the handmade folded brown paper, handwritten/newspaper cuttings CDs.
But that’s not the only thing that feels more “professional” about this release than his previous EPs… it sounds brilliant. With a cleaner, better-edited sound, PWL makes for genuinely fantastic listening. It’s still characteristically Lu: Repetition 2, my favourite track of the disc, still has it’s quirky discordant moments, but now they sound more funky than ever. Repetition 1 is clean and sharp and just slightly more openly emotional than many of his songs, and —- and Knight -> King 4 remain the fabulous ballads they were born as. There’s nothing new, strictly speaking, here, but the presentation, but it’s easily worth taking the time to listen to even if you’ve got a full library of pirated MP3s already.

Our New Hospital Sucks disappointed me a little. It’s a great song, but I think the best I’ve ever heard it was live, which is somewhat unusual: it just feels like it’s trying too hard to be loud and not hard enough to be smart. The Memorial Hall is a wonderful (and sad) song, but I preferred it when the time-signature transition in the middle was a little more obvious: a little more “raw”. Perhaps PWL’s just finding his feet in this exciting fast-paced world of “having real CDs cut and not having to burn them himself,” or perhaps I’m just being a little bit nostalgic.

Nonetheless, a brilliant CD. My minor gripes with it are most likely my general pickiness, and certainly don’t make the compilation itself any less enjoyable. And you can even listen to plenty of it online before you decide that it’s worth five of your Earth pounds.

Additional: What the fuck is Knight -> King 4 actually about? We’re very befuddled by it, lovely though it is. Answers on a postcard. Or in a comment would do, too.


  1. andy r andy r says:

    the BBC session of Hospital is pretty much identical to the live version and can be downloaded from the myspace page – but not for much longer.

    the reason the version on the cd is so raucous is that i basically felt like demolishing it utterly having played it exactly the same way for over 2 years, never thinking it was much cop as a song to begin with – i went for a completely over the top Fall style version.

    so the beeb version was a concession to people who might’ve been disappointed with the EP version.

    Knight -> King 4 takes place entirely in a goose’s mind – hope that explains it.

  2. Dan Q Dan Q says:

    Brilliant; the BBC session of Hospital *is* a lot better, IMHO. Nice and angry and slightly punky without being sillyloud like the Scrutineer copy. Thanks for the tip.

    And it’s certainly good you’re trying new things all the time. That’s part of the charm of your music.

    Will re-listen to Knight -> King 4 and see if it makes any more sense now, but I wouldn’t count on it: I’m not feeling that bright.

  3. Being me I linked the opening verse to Jebus, but then the other verses didn’t make much sense. Then I thought that it was about the way that life crushes any principles that to which you try to cling.

  4. Denyer Denyer says:

    Haven’t been back here in ages, but Andy just found me on Myspace. So have got a copy ordered and will wait to listen to that rather than the rest of the previews. =)

    “I preferred it when the time-signature transition in the middle was a little more obvious”

    Mmm, ‘s often the thing when you’ve been used to listening to one version of a song for so long. I really like the lyrics on the first bit being clearer to pick out, though.

    Yay for pressed CDs.

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