26 September 2012
Reviewed by Becky Glass
It starts well: coats draped over rows of vinyl, spotlights on low, and a crowd so benevolent they’re emitting an actual glow. The semi-transformed Oxfam shop on Kingsland Roadis an enchanting venue from the off – relaxed, calm and unpretentious: quite a surprise for mid-town Hipsterville. Add the lively warbling of Kyla La Grange to warm up the crowd and you’ve got a winner.
We had a winner. Emerging quietly confident, murmuring the first notes of her first song, Lucy Rose’s voice washed over the jumble as bewitching, as natural, as warming as sunlight.
The effect is soporific and uplifting at once. It’s a folksy Feist; Laura Marling without grit. And it’s addictive: the melodies and the sound get into your head, as weirdly familiar as your own thoughts.
Appreciative, undemanding and solid, Lucy makes a natural stage presence, unaffected in conversation with the crowd. ‘This guitar is a terrible instrument,’ she says, ‘When I’m rich and famous enough, I’m going to smash it up on stage.’ I don’t believe her; I think she’d recycle it – but the affected shyness, the artful wistfulness that makes other female folkstresses so irritating just isn’t in her at all.
In these respects, she’s a joy to watch. But if there’s one thing Lucy’s music can be faulted on, it’s a lack of passion. There’s just no rough edge to her: her words are expressive, but don’t seem to connect with real emotions. It’s not the troubled, tortured cry we’ve come to expect from a girl and a guitar.
But for Lucy, therein lies her charm. She really seems authentic, truly herself in her music. It’s lovely, it’s honest, and in its insistence to be simple, it’s wonderfully strong.
There isn’t much around at the moment that can have such a hypnotic effect on you – especially live. If just for that, Lucy is worth a watch.
And angst is passé anyway.