Kris Drever, John McCusker & Roddy Woomble – London Union Chapel 13/2/09
An admirable focus on the whole prevails this evening. It would have been easy just to have played this Scottish trio’s recent Beyond The Ruin LP in full and have everyone go home happy, but they insist, worthily, on challenging their audience as much as they can. It would have been easier still to play on the fact that among their ranks is one of the best-loved indie figures of the last decade, Idlewild’s Roddy Woomble. Since the journey from thrashy to classy with his day-job band has been completed, it’s time for Woomble to try something different, and this project couldn’t be in better hands.
Kris Drever‘s devilish guitar and John McCusker‘s multi-instrumentalism provide scintillating bases for Woomble’s roughshod, weather-beaten poetry to fire off of, a constant and evolving battle of soothing and menace. Into The Blue is buoyant, considered and, at its climax, full of glorious vocal harmony that fills the dome of the church with ease. Similarly, My Secret Is My Silence from Woomble’s debut solo LP is full of repressed energy and joyous vocal flourishes. This is continually polarised, though, by instrumentals from Drever and McCusker, who tackle jigs and reels with impeccable virtuosity and real verve. Despite demonstrating that no single member of this trio (and their myriad accompanists) is more important than another, it’s the ensemble pieces that remain strongest. The gorgeous Hope To See defines the evening, sensitively told stories with the most satisfying of plucked and bowed backing – in short, a consummate treat and celebration of balanced musicality.
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