Saturday 29 August 2009

Broken Records and My Latest Novel @ The Edge - Queens Hall Edinburgh 17 Aug 2009

My Latest Novelare now the first artist to be featured on twice, but I can safely say that their performance at a fast-filling Queens Hall theatre was quite different to their in-store performance at tiny Avalanche Records.

Nonetheless I'm going to use some similar words to describe them. The broad, sweeping melodies and vast soundscapes are rich in musical textures. The sound is loud and full, without crossing into "noisy". Always tuneful, despite some post-rock influence, especially in the oceanic crashing of the drums. The harmonies are beautiful, and the wistful fiddle and semi-acoustic guitar play nicely with the folk motif. The keyboards are pretty, and fill out the already blanketing sound, and the performance is measured and appropriate. A fine show that threatened to upstage the act they were opening for.

Listening to a Broken Records(pictured) tune is a roll of the die. The mix of acoustic and electric instruments allows them to float between Eastern European folk, Scottish indie, North American hoedown country; they were all over the map. It speaks well of the Edinburgh septet that they can convincingly land in a plethora of different genres and make themselves comfortable, never sounding out of place.

While they claimed to be excited to be playing a concert venue in their home town, it was difficult to spot the excitement from the members. Stage presence was not strong from them, but it could definitely be heard in their music. The cello throbbed and percussion slammed with a fervour rarely felt in acoustic music. The vocals yowled with desperation as they expressed songs of mournful reflection and all-consuming emotion.

Such a wide sound from such excellent musicians could have been taken one step further, with a set of beautiful harmonies, especially in the slower, ballad-style songs, where it seemed a bit unnecessary to have so many bodies filling up the expansive Queens Hall stage. Nonetheless, the band achieved a tightness during some complicated movements that probably requires classical training and the music succeeded in transcending its surroundings, plonking us in a barn filled with hysterical lovers, where every exit leads to a different continent.
Myke Hall

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