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The Autumn Isles

The Autumn IslesThe Bird Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Bird’s candlelit atmosphere and a warm amber glow coming from the stage set a relaxed and cosy mood for the evening’s round of country rock and indie-inspired music.

John Martyr’s Ghost had a modest turn-out of sophisticated looking patrons engaged with their combination of classic rock, driving tunes and emotionally charged, slow-eddy grooves. While the clangourous tones generated by guitarist Jake Chaloner and the growling deep bass tones of Will Langdale (both from the psych-rock band Apache) gave weight to the increasing intensity of the ensemble towards the end of the set, even though John Martyr’s vocals wavered at times, the gang of five produced a lounge-rock feel that was well received.

The next support act (who has recently supported the Waifs) set the stage alive with all the charisma you could possibly want; Davey Craddock & The Spectacles came forth to deliver an impressive set of pure Americana county that had everyone up close swingin’ and swayin’ along nicely. Creamy guitars and distant organ drones filled the air, while the creatively crafted songs full of melodic quality and authentic allure rolled on, song after song. The tracks Keep on Waiting, There Will Be Light and an excellent cover of Dylan’s I Shall Be Released were all full of oozy lap slide guitar and acoustic drawl that encapsulated all the charm of the country style that these good old boys presented so well.

With a full length album in the pipeline, tonight The Autumn Isles began the promotional train and with the launch of their single Harvest In The Night taken from the forthcoming work. Prominently positioned centre of the stage, Alex Arpino the songwriter and producer for the Isles took charge and lead the band through their set of upbeat Indi-pop that emanated a tuneful style reminiscent of the Flaming Lips blended with the pop-esque charm of Belle And Sebastian. This sextet of extremely well-rehearsed musicians performed for an hour, which was full of musically enriched guitar lead pop that had layer upon layer of melodic complexity. Yet the tradition song compositional structures gave the tracks a familiarity and easily accessible appeal. Xylophone tones from the keys trickled over chorded rhythms, while the dreamy baritone vocals from Arpino, complimented by the backing vocals of Victoria Marmio, sat comfortably within the mix. Each song had its own story to tell and at times the mood edged toward a darker suggestion that was distinctly different from the feel of the preceding acts and helped give the night a welcome balance of style. Although the songs after a while did seem intrinsically similar, the melody pop guitar grip that prevailed did successfully keep the audience’s attention. If not a risky sound, the Isles presented an intellectually crafted set and with falsetto tones the last track Fire Away ending the show, there was really very little to complain about, after a night of solid entertainment.

MICHAEL CAVES

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