Kid Harpoon and the Powers That Be, We See Lights, The Kays Lavelle
Helen Newbery 27/02/2008
The seven members of We See Lights employ close harmonies to great effect, mixing and matching vocal duties between them. In a set brimming with ideas and variety, they manage to combine haunting melodies with a folksy lilt and a knowing pop sensibility. However, it's the vituperative 'Joy of Hate' which stands out, with Ciaran McGuigan spitting out the lyrics: “they've all grown deaf to your whine”.
Following on are another Edinburgh seven-piece, The Kays Lavelle. However, this is where any similarities with the previous band end, as The Kays Lavelle have carved out a niche which is all their own. They combine heart-stopping melodies with a richly textured sound, an approach typified by single-in-waiting 'Ten Times'. Its delicate refrain draws you in, gradually building to a wall of sound that leaves you feeling shell-shocked as the last chords die away. As singer Euan McMeeken is at pains to point out, they've supported bands such as iLiKETRAiNS without getting any recognition. If performances like tonight's are anything to go by, however, this should change, and soon.
A balladeer for our times, Kid Harpoon launches into an intense set with 'Milkmaid'. Storytelling at its best, it's the old, old tale of a girl's awakening when the circus comes to town. Stylistically slighty folksy on record, there's a vital energy on display when onstage with his band, The Powers That Be. With material taken from both EPs, the set highlight is probably the danceably uplifting 'Flowers By The Shore', from the upcoming 'The Second EP' (and yes, the first one was called 'The First EP'). It's this utter lack of pretension, along with some rattlin' good tunes, which distinguishes Kid Harpoon from many of his contemporaries. Possibly caught out by an early curfew, our only regret is that the set seems to end rather abruptly, and looking around us at the enthusiastic crowd, we are not the only ones.