Way back in January we reviewed the debut single from indie/folk artist Scriber’s upcoming EP and we absolutely loved it. Well, fast-forward two months and the completed work, entitled “Every Particle” has finally been released. Scriber invited us down to Undertone to enjoy the official EP launch, featuring Summer Ghost and two members of Three Pairs of Shoes (currently performing, as they put it, ‘anonymously’) in support.
The anonymous duo were first to take to the stage in a venue that was already starting to fill up. A short but strong performance set the tone for the evening as the pair offered up to the crowd a brand of indie folk that was particularly reminiscent of chart-darlings such as Ben Howard and Lucy Rose. The sort of low-key, honest, singer/songwriter genre is experiencing quite a warm reception among music lovers at the minute and the reception for these guys was no different. The set consisted largely of understated numbers built upon meandering guitar lines that were greeted intermittently along the way by unobtrusive keyboards. What particularly impressed about these guys however were the vocals, an impressive range from the lead vocalist who clearly knows how to utilise his voice, frequently left the room stunned. However, when the pair begun to harmonise with each other things got truly breathtaking; it was just a shame that this didn’t happen more often. However, despite all this goodness something about them didn’t sit right with me. Their songs felt as though they had the potential to be absolutely enormous and often felt like they were just bursting to break free but were at times weighed down or restricted by their own understatedness; I’d love to see these guys with a full band to back them up.
Next on stage was Summer Ghost. Armed only with a keyboard, a laptop, a ton of fancy pedals and himself, Alex Comana’s set is a glittering and intriguing beast to behold. Pulsating synth-lines lay the foundation for most of his songs as he intertwines loops and beats in and around one another and tops the whole thing off with quivering vocals that suggest a clear influence of Kate Bush. Whereas his voice is perhaps not the strongest I’ve heard, his high notes peaking as he clearly hits the very top of his range, he certainly knows how to make the most of what he has. As his set goes on he introduces more and more the use of vocal looping and it works well with the other electronic elements of his music. Able to create interesting and emotive textures using this technique Summer Ghost fills the room with ethereal wails that are difficult to ignore but easy to admire. As his set goes on I can’t help but think that Summer Ghost’s sound feels what I imagine it would sound like if Bastille and Bon Iver had joined forces. The layers, textures and the high-pitched vocals of Bon Iver with the loops, beats and electronic wizardry of indie/electro new boys Bastille. He, quite honestly, describes himself as a work in progress and there is a sense of that throughout his set. However, when the work is over and this is a completed project it will almost certainly turn more than a few heads.
As Scriber begins his set the stage is bathed in blue, giving the whole thing a real other-worldly feel; he opens his set with a quiet and solemn number that leaves the room in a stunned silence. Moving on to Bethlehem, that sounds as great live as it did on record, before neatly segueing into the fantastic Branding Belt maintaining an atmosphere of reverence and awe. Branding Belt, is the first time in a largely hushed set that things get loud as the full force of the band comes in to play. It’s a welcome change in pace that excites and invigorates the song and really shows Scriber’s incredible ability to somehow maintain the sense of gentle beauty in both the silence and the noise. The band were on top form, with rocking horse bass lines tumbling gently from one note to the next joined by powdery drums, dainty guitar lines and subtle keyboards that all felt so wonderfully at home amongst Scriber’s songwriting. As they exit the stage mid-set they leave Scriber alone to perform a couple more songs, one of which sparks an impromptu sing-a-long from the crowd. The crowd response throughout the entire set is nothing short of keen adoration; enthusiastic applause, cheers and whistles and iPhone photography are commonplace and along with the encore it’s all testament to just how easy it is to simply become enamoured by Scriber’s intimate and fragile brand of indie/folk. The band return as the set closes in the same way the EP does with the song Thunder, it begins in a delicate and troubled manner before building into an intense climax of rumbling drums and guitar fuzz that signify a well-crafted finale.
All in all it was a great gig, packed to the rafters with indie/folk elements that warmed the soul on a bitter night in Cardiff. Scriber’s EP, Every Particle, is available to listen to online but it is definitely worth reaching into your pockets and paying for. Four incredibly beautiful songs that are as well produced as they are written. Such talent deserves success and it is not totally inconceivable that Scriber will achieve that sooner than anyone might have anticipated.
Joseph Ainscough, @TheJoeSco