C Duncan at The Poetry Club, 3/4/15

The very very first headline slot by hotly tipped C Duncan tonight: it shows in the self-effacing attitude of all three on stage but there’s really no need for it; this is talent – needs some steering but there’s no doubting the skills.

The band come at you with glorious, soaring yet velvety harmonies, both vocal – including some incongruously great whistling – and on keyboards and guitar.

A slightly malfunctioning sampler joins in the party from time to time: and thank goodness it does because that’s when proceedings really come to life: the great closing tune ‘Say’ being the prime example; irresistible and benefiting hugely from the jolt of percussion over and above the Beach Boys like melodies.

Very much an intimate affair this with the small audience squeezed into the microscopic Poetry Club giving off the air of friends and family: gentle souls all and luckily not invaded by Pressure / Electric Frog kicking off about fifteen feet away: certainly a juxtaposition of atmospheres.

And it’s largely successful.

This is a nascent career and there seems little doubt that though we’re at acorn stage, there is every chance of a substantial forest to come: Duncan has serious ability, bags of it.

By far the most successful tracks are when things loosen up a little and get some groove into the heartfelt mix; touch of electronica to lift things a little.

Not that they ever appear likely to rock out – the Kiss face paint and leather strides may be a way off yet – but with relaxation and progression beyond a simple acoustic strum along… well it’s excellent; really excellent.

Reviewing ‘Say’ a while back it was obvious there is an artist of no little class here: this gig confirms that; fans of classic song writing a la Bacharach et al will find huge amounts to enjoy.

More stagecraft, more confidence and possibly a lunatic manager and svengali added into the mix and there is every chance this mob will make it: you don’t want them to lose the ethereal, pastoral edge of tunes like the gorgeous ‘And I’, but more gigs like this, more audience reaction on show to the bouncier numbers – that expands and gives more generosity… and success.

Post gig the verdict is that the band don’t realise quite how good they are: endearing in many ways; it cannot last.

Album is out soon, new single ‘Here To There’ is out now: check them on Soundcloud and elsewhere.

Words: Andrew Morrison

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