|The Very Last
of The Fringe Reviews
Music ( FOUR STARS )
Apparently being groomed by Mushroom Records as their Next Big Thing after Garbage, this Australian four-piece sit down on stage like a sedate jazz or folk act, initially coming over as low-key. But they leave you an hour or so later scorched, chilled, transported and hauled through the depths, while still not entirely sure how they did it.
Abby Dobson's remarkable singing, both the sound and the mesmerising style of her delivery, is the key intoxicant, but one with a delayed-action effect - only rarely does she really let rip and belt it out, yet the layers of phrasing and feeling are compacted in her voice to a recurrently spine-tingling depth; imagine some half-candied, half-blistering blend between Marianne Faithfull, Shirley Manson, Edie Brickell and a female Feargal Sharkey.
Then there are the songs themselves - all original, mostly by guitarist Dean Manning; literate, passionate compositions with titles like The Problematic Art of Conversation and 41 False Starts, laced with strains of blues, soul and dust-bowl country, underlain by raw rock aggression.
The arrangements centre on the arresting harmonic teamwork between Manning and his bass player Patrick Hyndes, while Jon Howell displays an admirably sure hand on the drum kit. Given this calibre of writing and musicianship, fronted with Dobson's unmistakable star quality, we could indeed be seeing a lot more of these four.