Ex-Pavement man's debut. He did the band's accounts, you know
That name is a dead giveaway. Making Mull Historical Society’s unwieldy moniker sound like an invite to an E’d up orgy, it’s
merely the first hint that Scott Kannberg – or Spiral Stairs as fans of his former band will know him – has brought Pavement’s other-worldly wilfulness to his post-Malkmus career.
There’s plenty of other clues too. Because, despite Preston School Of Industry being named after a Bay Area reform school, Kannberg is not in penitent
mood. Thus the warm anthemic scamper of ‘Whale Bones’ and the seven-minute unravel of ‘Encyclopedic Knowledge Of’
(both originally written for
‘Terror Twilight’) lead the majority of songs here in displaying the layered fuzzy logic you’d expect.
Yet not everything is so familiar. Hence ‘Falling Away’ jangles merrily like The Cure perched on a cliff, and ‘A Treasure @ Silver Bank’ dabbles in alternative country. However, these are mere aberrations from a man who spent years making a virtue out of religiously ploughing the minute permutations of the same furrow.
In short, he seems to be saying: why let the departure of others deflect you from making music steeped in skewed beauty? As his solo debut is frequently as imperfectly perfect as Pavement approaching their best, he’s almost certainly got a point.