Saturday, 5 September 2009

Golden Animals / She Keeps Bees / The Silver Abduction - 21 August 2009, Wilmington Arms

For the duration of The Silver Abduction's set a sense of otherworldliness settles upon the prosaic surrounds of The Wilmington Arms. The songs are melodic and charming but have an undercurrent of displacement, uneasiness.

The Silver Abduction are Allison, once of The Eighteenth Day Of May, with Andy Dragazis, one-time producer of EDOM, but these are not the psych-folk sounds of old. The Silver Abduction deal in noir-ish, movie-toned music. They provide an opportunity for Allison to act out her screen siren fantasies, which she does brilliantly. With her fifties-style nipped-in dress and blonde waves she’s an alluring stage presence, her mellifluous, pristine voice a focal point for the music. As she sings, her hands flutter by her sides, or caress the air, maybe plucking at a phantom dulcimer. It’s all very reminiscent of Julee Cruise performing in those bewitching ‘Twin Peaks’ bar scenes. At once soothing and unsettling.

The band play six songs, all quite different. There are a couple of vintage numbers providing the most torch-y moments. Other songs are harder, driven by Dragazis’ fluid, melodic guitar, but it’s always Allison’s voice that pulls you in, sweetly seductive.

She Keeps Bees and Golden Animals are whole other kettles of fish. Where The Silver Abduction have brought an air of faded glamour, these bands are a far grubbier proposition.

She Keeps Bees is the work of Jessica Larrabee aided by drummer Andy LaPlant. They take to the stage in a flurry, Jessica telling us how last night’s Leicester audience were shocked by her swearing, before hitching up her braces ("Rock 'n' Roll is awesome!") and cranking out raw, visceral blues conducted around a clatter of voice, guitar and drums.

A song is sung a capella; cracked, keening voice sailing out into the audience, spearing those rude enough to carry on chatting as if there wasn’t someone singing their heart out directly in front of their noses. It’s a short set and the audience demands satisfaction, so because they’ve said "please", She Keeps Bees belt out one more song for the crowd, ferocious and buzzing.

Golden Animals have brought their own rug with them which they drape over the monitors to add their own hippy down home touch to the stage. Glitter-dusted faces half hidden by masses of hair, they look excellent – check out the great photos on their Myspace – bell bottoms and ancient runes, tassels and paisley. They look like they sound...murky psychedelia with a fuzzrock snarl, slithering swamp blues with desert sky harmonies. And their record is called ‘Free Your Mind And Win A Pony’. Good work.

Drummer Linda looks like Joni Mitchell x Sissy Spacek and finishes each song with an incredibly elegant flourish of her long wrists. On record, her backing vocals to Tommy’s wailed, growled songs are spooky and sublime, but live they’re somewhat drowned out by the full-on crunching attack of Tommy’s VERY LOUD guitar. A couple of girls dance in a corner, pulling those jittery, arm-wavey moves you see maxi-skirted chicks doing on 1970s episodes of TOTP. It adds to the general air of freak-out happening very nicely.

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