Emily and the Woods - Manchester Sound Control - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Emily and the Woods - Manchester Sound Control

by Calum Adams Rating:8 Release Date:2012-06-18

Don't let the softly spoken heroine fool you...

It’s always special when you find a live performance has something different to offer from what you hear at home. While Emily and the Wood’s latest EP, Then We Collide, continues to lift their soulful melodies and intimate lyrics beyond the realm of just that, adding increasingly jazzy percussion and funky basslines, live, the four-piece deliver emotive and charming show.

Kiera Lawlor gives support: a young, impassioned solo artist clearly confident onstage. Her set is reminiscent of an early Lucy Rose, musically clever while revealing a youthful pain in the half-tempo choruses, all laced with intelligent lyrics. Yet through all her talent there is a resonating feeling that without supporting musicians, even in the barest of forms, Lawlor’s music is slightly empty, like it's waiting for more. Beyond this, the ‘on-trend’ Manchester girl held her own well, providing a charismatic support for our headline.

It’s fair to say Sound Control is far from the right venue for this folksy collection to play. Yet from the moment Emily and the Wood hit the stage they fight against this, creating an ambient room. Live, it feels as if equilibrium has been struck between what is so lovable in their early work, and the more recent, energetic songs. Unique and intricate beats run in sync with more upbeat basslines, all of which complement the atmospheric, minimal melodies given by brother Benedict. Emily’s quiet, softly spoken stories on stage are misgiving of the talent she brings to the evening. Lyrically sad, or even poignant, her voice floated above the creative music.

From the somber melodies to the foot-tapping tunes, Emily and the Woods give a mesmerizing performance. With Fiest-like vocals and a familiar rendition of James Blake’s ‘The Wilhelm Scream’ snuck in, the gig gives me the warm tingles only the greatest of intimate concerts can do. There are a few times when the four may not have been as tight as possible, or points when the sound levels are slightly off, but in part that all adds to the charm of gig.

The only real dampener is the venue. Clearly used to the more rambunctious act, it provides little comfort for something which should be littered with tea lights, a velvet curtained stage and embossed wallpaper. Yet let’s not dwell.

Emily and the Woods produce an intimate and fresh sound, proving less is more and it’s only a shame there aren't more people here tonight to appreciate something so special.

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