Mechanical Bride, The Slaughtered Lamb, London
Thursday 04 September 2008
Among this season's musical micro-trends is the kooky young female singer-songwriter: a scene in search of the next Bat for Lashes. Lykke Li and Florence and the Machine are fine examples, and I recently saw The Mummers, aka Raissa Khan-Panni and friends, play a brief but promising showcase for their upcoming mini-album, Tale to Tell (Part One), presenting a repertoire that owes much to Björk and, hmmm... Judy Garland?
Brighton's Mechanical Bride, meanwhile, are 22-year-old Lauren Doss and friends, who this evening are topping the bill at the Electroacoustic Club, a regular digest of up-and-coming young things held in the basement of The Slaughtered Lamb pub in Farringdon.
Doss and her five-strong band squeeze into the corner of the darkened room with their instruments – a piano, a horn, a tuba, an acoustic guitar, an accordion, a mandolin, bongos and a glockenspiel mounted on an ironing board – but I can't help thinking it might have made a better one-woman show. All this messing about swapping equipment between songs suggests a lack of confidence in the tunes themselves.
Which is a shame, since some of those songs are lovely, particularly the ethereal, piano-led laments "The Final" and "Poor Boy", which both appear on the band's new EP, Part II. "You Stole My Heart", an oompah-oompah march, sounds like Stina Nordenstam fronting Beirut.
Much as Beirut and Arcade Fire are fantastic bands, the blame for the excessive use of eccentric folk instruments by new bands nowadays can be placed firmly at their doors. All these accordions and xylophones and ukuleles – it's just a bit twee, isn't it? Cluttering up the melodies with de rigueur orchestration is all very well, but in this intimate setting it might be best to strip everything back to basics.
Thanks in part to the tiny venue, the whole set sounds a tad ramshackle, like some up-market band of buskers. Some of the instruments are too loud, and some of them sound slightly out of tune, but then there's no denying the allure of Doss's delicate, otherworldly vocal.
After she finishes her final song, the spooky "See Worlds", alone with the glockenspiel, Doss ducks behind the ironing board, apparently too self-conscious to soak up her applause. There's still an overwhelming sense that we're watching half-formed material rather than the finished article, but she should have a little more faith in her fans' taste. They like her for a reason.
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Ben Affleck asked TV chiefs to hide slave-owning ancestry, new hacked Sony emails published by Wikileaks claim
- 3 Driving while dehydrated can be just as dangerous as drink driving, study suggests
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
- 5 One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Better Call Saul creator Peter Gould on the creative concerns of a prequel, season 2 and the mind-numbing realities of the small courts
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
One Direction: Louis Tomlinson launching his own record label, has already 'signed two acts'
Tidal CEO leaves Jay Z's music streaming service only a month after it launched
Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens: Luke Skywalker actor Mark Hamill admits he was suspicious of 'Star Trek guy' JJ Abrams
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate