...a unity of eyes and firelight...

Thousands

In Live Reviews, Music on April 9, 2011 at 3:27 pm

Tuesday 5 April, 2011

Castle Hotel, Manchester

Acoustic indie-folk? In 2011? Really?

Really.  And actually, rather good too.  Seattle duo, Kristian Garrard and Luke Bergman, seemed shy, slight performers, too dreamy to self-publicise, but with oodles of talent in their fingers and their almost falsetto voices.

Not many people were there to fill the room, so after their first song, there was still a brimming tension in the room, added to by the slightly ugly bass-heavy monitors.  Kristian said we could sit down if we wanted, so we did.  He then tweaked the settings on the monitors.  And from then on, everything felt right for this spirited performance.

The lyrics could be described as somewhat fey, and the dreaminess of Kristian and Luke certainly contributed to this.  However, any comparison to the alt-folk and indie-folk acts that were making big waves a few years ago (Bon Iver, José González, etc) was undermined by the complexity of their guitar-plucking.  There was a beauty and an exactness to this that belied an understanding and a rapport between them to be admired.

However, one wonders if the greater complexity and fineness of their tunes may lead to less popular appeal than the broad emotional sweep of the more immediately felt, simple soundscapes of Bon Iver and José González.  I hope I’m wrong, because these guys are truly talented.

They will be on Mark Riley’s show on BBC6 Music on Monday 11 April at 1900, and then performing in Manchester again in the summer at the Deaf Institute.

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