Almost an all girl band (bar the male drummer), tonight Skinny Dipper play Stereo to launch their debut EP Masks .
First support act Chrissy Barnacle takes the stage to sing her strangely compelling self penned songs while strumming beautifully on a classical guitar, her songs tell bizarre tales of skeletons in love and of people copulating on rat infested doomed cruise ships but her music, voice and song writing are wonderfully engaging.
Her talent is not to be doubted with her well crafted songs taking on a journey going from soft and giving in to frantic in seconds, there is definitely a touch of Bjork about this Cambuslang lass both in her lyrics and voice and “kooky” would be a fair way to describe her, but hey, personally I want to see more.
Call to Mind, a quintet hailing from Inverness, have been widely well received in the music press on the back of their album Winter is White, musically they produce a full sound that is complex, layered and at times psychedelic.
Lead singer Martin Ross sat at the side of the stage playing keyboards, he has a soft voice which is unfortunately lost among the sound tonight, however it’s clear to see the direction and quality of this band and they will be worth seeing in a venue that better suits them.
If the support acts were the soup and starter then gorging on the main course is a pleasure, Skinny Dipper cram the stage with talented musicians, with a cello, violin and trumpet featuring in their line up borrowing bodies from excellent bands such as Blochestra and Randolph’s Leap to name but two.
Canadian lead singer’s Alex Kentzel’s voice is simply a thing of beauty, her delivery is romantic and effortless and is harmonised to perfection by others within the group.
In new single ‘Landing’ these rich harmonies twinned with jaunty violin move the song swiftly along at a galloping pace from wonderfully loving and warm to toe tapping brilliance.
Keyboardist Gillian Higgins takes a turn on lead vocals to give us the simple and moving ‘The Kids are Moving On’, her sweet and impressive vocal range lends depth and clarity to a simple love song that had the audience spell bound.
Highlight of the night ‘Hospital Bed’ features soft flirting harmonies and an intoxicating melody that cradle the crowd and envelope them in an earthy goodness, the song’s twisted into a complex thing of compelling beauty featuring every member of the band culminating in a crescendo of folky perfection.
It’s hard to pigeon hole this band into a particular genre, but easy to see how they fit snugly into the Olive Grove stable with other modern folk stalwarts like Randolph’s Leap, what I can say is it’s mid September and this, to date, was my favourite gig of the year.
In a previous incarnation they named the band after a film from director Cameron Crow, with all their song titles being lines from his movies, recently he heard their EP and contacted the band via twitter saying “holy shit, these songs are crazy good.”
Cameron Crow does not lie!
Words/Photos: Peter Dorrington