Promise And The Monster & Wilderness Hymnal - Manchester: Soup Kitchen - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

Promise And The Monster & Wilderness Hymnal - Manchester: Soup Kitchen

by Steve Rhodes Rating:8 Release Date:2013-04-15

It's a Tuesday evening and thousands of people are huddled into the confines of Manchester Arena to watch the paint-drying Adele, whereas across the city in the basement of the far superior Soup Kitchen, a significantly smaller, but appreciative audience, are awaiting the appearance of Bella Union's latest signings, the intriguingly named Promise and the Monster.

Up first, though, is Manchester resident Javier Willis as Wilderness Hymnal. Normally supported live on drums, Javier tonight is solo with a 'stripped-down' set, with just a piano to accompany his vocals, but he manages to fill the room with melodious noise without resorting to pre-programmed gimmicry or even the looper pedal that most soloists tend to rely upon too much these days. Like Tom from Wild Beasts fronting Crippled Black Phoenix, Gareth Malone gone rogue or Brendan Perry guesting with Eyes and No Eyes, Javier's vocal is dominant and passionate, but also reflective and yearning and is the perfect accompaniment to his minor-key masterpieces. Not a million miles from the excellent Brother/Ghost and with hints of Diamanda Galas, Wilderness Hymnal is definitely an outfit to watch out for as judged by this triumphant performance.

Tonight, Sweden's Promise and the Monster, the solo project of singer and guitarist Billie Lindahl, is beefed-up with the accompaniment of two fellow musicians on stage using various instruments such as flute, backing vocals, keys and percussion. Beginning proceedings with the wistful 'Slow And Quiet' and 'Apartment Song' the tone is established for an atmospheric, focussed and melancholic set, especially where the dual vocal harmonies intertwine in delirious beauty. The mournful 'Feed The Fire' is an early highlight, with touches of Howling Bells via Pure Bathing Culture and Still Corners or Mazzy Star soundtracking The Bridge, this is bewitching folk music sanctioned by David Lynch.

Though the pace settles around a relaxing and serene tempo, there are livelier moments, such as on the glorious, drum-pounding 'Time Of The Season', the hypnotic 'Hammering The Nails' and the the dustbowl 'Fine Horsemen', that hints at Gorky's Zygotic Mynci's mantric medieval period, all of which captivates the audience into seductive attention.

There is no histrionics or unncessary attention-grabbing theatrics from Promise And The Monster. What you get is a beautiful, mesmering performance, that can calm the soul of even the most hyperactive listener. A joy to watch and hear.

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