Monday, April 06, 2009
THE TOFF IN TOWN
Tables and chairs cluster around the stage tonight, as Tobias Hengeveld intones gently into the microphone in his strong ocker accent. Stories of travelling highways, working on fishing boats and of rambling muses; ‘You’re a bend in this river baby / A sparkle in a jar’. A relatively new face on the singer/songwriter scene, despite Hengeveld’s joking insistence to remember him as ‘Tony Lagerfeld’ given the complexity of his name, he’s distinctive enough to make a mark on his own. His performance, as with Thorne’s, is helped immensely by the quality of the sound tonight.
‘Tonight I'm just a broken girl / I can barely trust even my own self / So I'm warning you, I'm telling you straight / I have gotten lost along the way’ so Lucie Thorne sings tellingly in Open Sky, the final track on Black Across The Field, the album launched tonight. Her gently suggestive delivery, each sentence trailing off, sells you rustic escapes and compelling stories and again and again, Thorne draws you in. Her voice is Renee Geyer-rich and throaty which adds to the intimacy though it seems she’s giving little of herself. ‘I’m too beside myself to talk tonight,’ she laughingly confesses. Indeed, it seems she slips between engaging the crowd and being back in her house in her little town in the NSW hinterland, in the space of a verse. The way her lyrics paint pictures then drift over the lulling vibrato guitar and soporific backing sees the songs often blending, getting lost along the way.
Those that stand out strongest are those rhythmically pushed, Over In Threes glows, Alice crunches beautifully against a wall of valve warmth, The Basic Rules sees a sliver of pop find it’s way into the set and sparkles beautifully. Slower songs are often beautiful glimpses into her world; a sublime Walking Late, the harrowing Before The Cold is made harsher by it’s lullaby melodies, and the gorgeous closing Winter/Sun almost steals the show. Her guitarist Heath Cullen is a notable asset; his wiry guitar lines and doleful pedal steel add rich and subtle layers. It seems Thorne is already into the next album and it’s going to be louder, more direct and possibly even better than Black Across The Field.