Saturday, 14 November 2015

Sound of the Sirens - Phoenix, Exeter, 13th November, 2015

Glorious Moment

Sound of the Sirens – Abbe Martin and Hannah Wood – are in their moment. They are in their moment because of the recent national exposure on TV by appearing on the launch of the new TFI Friday programme with Chris Evans. Indeed, Evans had already championed them on his BBC2 radio programme. When he knelt at their feet at the end of their live and sparkling performance on the Channel 4 airing, there was genuine praise in the theatrics.

They are also in their moment because it is the culmination of some years of hard graft, creativity, energy, gigging, regular airplay on Tom Robinson’s radio show, a Best Acoustic Act for the South West Music Awards in 2013 and significant festival exposure throughout 2014.

They are in their moment because of talent and the fortuity that is attracted to talent but also offers its moment through the Laws of Musical Sudden Good Luck where in a highly competitive and volatile industry the door opens. On the evidence of last night’s gig at The Phoenix, both in its quality and the reception of a packed, sold-out crowd, they have stormed through that precarious but occasionally giving portal.

The musical quality of this duo is in many respects a given: two sold-out gigs at The Phoenix and on the previous night in Bristol, the successes already mentioned, and the fan base evident on Facebook and elsewhere if you search online. What also impresses then in light of this is the humility in their energy and joy when performing, and a genuine rapport between the two on stage and also with the audience. Their banter is natural and inclusive.

The duo’s Facebook biog refers to their music as a foot-stomping, crowd-engaging female folk/rock duo whose strengths lie in their passion and chemistry and that too is a genuine, honest account. Chris Evans has referred to their playing/performance as tight as a drum and this was my exact view watching last night when I thought of their impeccable harmonies and timing. It is a rousing folk if you want a tag, but it is acoustic music, with guitar and mandolin largely, and the addition of electric piano. A core feature too is the storytelling. Every song is infused with intense lyrics – not necessarily in the actual narratives – but in the attention to thoughtful rhyming, at times, but imagery and detail and meaning. This is not pop music. But it is clearly popular, and they fully deserve whatever furthering success comes their way.

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