18 October 2017
Stroud’s alt-folkers indulge the audience in a waking dreamscape during their tour opener for debut album ‘Illumine’.
A treacle of individuals mousily ask for passage through the crowd, shuffling their way to the front. Hopping aboard the stage they proceed to pick up guitars, squeeze behind kits and keys, and contort themselves into any available space on Sneaky’s cosy stage. Bashfully, Low Chimes (formerly known as Hot Feet) begin, ushering the audience in with their ethereal opener Electric Bloom, its raindrop piano, gentle fret shifts and whisping vocals culminate in a beautiful fusion of zen and folk.
From the get go, a dreamy immersion emanates the room, as though drifting through a morphine vacuum. Tracks Blood Orange and Sulphur Silk stray between quiet reflection and sun-blazing blinder with swift oscillations. The band’s harmony of celestial and natural sounds reminisces of Jose Gonzalez, giving the sense of a journey through a forest on a cosmic plain. Lead singer Marianne Parrish’s vocal delivery is akin to that of the aforementioned Swede, but her range dips and soars with the ease of a kite shifting between fluctuating thermals.
Somber touches of Nick Drake and earthy tones of Fleet Foxes appear sporadically throughout the evening, but it is their hushed optimism and pin-point precision playing that make them so compelling. Stand-out offering Sleepwalking is a modestly majestic mid-point of the eve, filling the room with a progressive momentum and giving the audience a head-nodding melody to take home for further consumption.
Low Chimes’ considered yet unrestrained live presence deviates from their more orderly album experience with enthralling results. Nuances are aplenty with this lot, the wrangling of their combined talents is a tandem merit for themselves and Sneaky’s sound tech, who receives his own round of applause for his finesse. Before departing though, the band hammer out Final Farewell, a sprawling and angelic send off that exhibits their status as a brightly burning solar sphere to keep an eye on.