Marika Hackman, Portland Arms, Cambridge, 14 April 2015

With just a range of guitars and her haunting voice, Marika Hackman held the packed Portland audience in rapt attention. It was a master class in the power of well-crafted songs, intricate yet subtle playing and an engaging personality. She was clearly pleased to be on stage and appreciative of the audience reaction, there was a genuine short smile at the end of each song.

She has roots in folk, but the dream-like textures and sinister overtones of some of her lyrics have a style all their own. She manages to faithfully recreate the echoes and delays of the vocals of her current album, ‘We Slept At Last’ and second song in we were treated to one of the standout tracks ‘Drown’. ‘Monday Afternoon’ is a mellow tale of pastoral delights with unexpected death thrown in. There are also similar ominous feelings in new single ‘Ophelia’.

I have an obsessive fondness for songs of all genres in waltz time and ‘Claudes’s Girl’, a lullaby tribute to Claude Debussy did not disappoint. There was a cover version of ’81’ by avant-garde folk harpist Joanna Newsom then the thoughtful soundscape of final song ‘Cinnamon’ left us a bit breathless. I’m not sure if an encore was usual or expected but she came back and played folky and jokey ‘Bath Is Black’ to send us off into the night…

http://marikahackman.com/

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