PAPERHEAD

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  • Holy Thursday
Harvest Sun @ The Shipping Forecast 30/1/15

It has become something of a recent rarity to wander into a venue in Liverpool and not be greeted with the familiar strains of repetition and effects-laden guitars. Despite the neo-psych movement’s many pros, it is all perhaps becoming a bit much. However, in recent months the furore appears to have died down slightly, and so it’s with fresh ears and an open, willing mind that I head to the Shipping Forecast to take in PAPERHEAD.

Local four-piece HOLY THURSDAY make for an impressive prelude to the headliners. With luscious, two-part vocal harmonies laid over infectiously rhythmic melodies, and off-kilter organ parts, it is hard not to be drawn in. Their Beatles-esque vocal parts add a lightness to what is otherwise a dark, swaggering sound, serving as breaks for the long, cyclical jams. She stands out as a good example of the band’s aesthetic, encapsulating both the raw clarity of songwriting and expressive use of psychedelic convention (a phrase which may seem incredibly contradictory) that has made their performance tonight so enjoyable. They will be a hard act to follow.

Considering Paperhead had to cancel a show in London the night before due to some vehicle difficulties, you’d imagine that they would be raring to go tonight. However, the band seem somewhat subdued and reluctant; perhaps a hangover of disappointment still permeates the group after having to abandon what would probably have been the biggest gig on this leg of the tour. This lack of motivation soon spreads to the crowd, and there are a number of indifferent faces gradually moving towards the back of the Hold where they can drink and talk without having to pay too much attention to the band. Regardless of all this the songs still emerge, and there is far from anything lacking in the way the Trouble In Mind-signees sound. They appear more full and aggressive live than on record, with the vocals sinking lower in the mix and the other instruments gaining prominence. Do You Ever Think Of Me? is a well-crafted and engaging track that could have been penned by Ray Davies, and exhibits the group’s well-honed songwriting dynamic, as well as their clear, musical ability.

Towards the end of the set things become a bit more lively, and those on stage seem to be coming to terms with the previous night’s debacle. It has been a restrained but still enjoyable performance, but it’s probably reasonable to predict that most of the audience will head home with the words “Holy Thursday” resonating more in their brains than a head full of paper.

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