An album launch for ‘I’ve Been Over Thinking’, a new CD of self-penned songs from Newmarket based performer Lee Hull.
Taking the stage first was the highly-regarded local indie folkster Flaming June, a favourite on this site and tonight with the added bonus of electric violin and occasional backing vocals from Alex Herring. Louise Eatock’s songs draw on folk traditions, modern mores and the underlying tensions of fairy tales, all performed with the rhythmic drive of acoustic guitar, with its insistent lower and mid-range tones duelling (in a good way!) with the gently soaring violin on the top.
The tracks from the ‘In Pursuit of Happiness’ EP still sound fresh and there is some new material being recorded this summer.
Lee Hull opened his set with an extended cover of ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ but it is his original tracks that are the most engaging, a mix of electronica and very personal lyrical ideas. ‘Kiss Me Like You Used To’ and the ‘The Way I Am’ are straightforwardly effective, with a few keyboard surprises to keep us guessing. ‘Thank You’ was mellower and emotionally voiced while ‘The Way I Am’ is a consciousness stream over a funky synth bass line.
Two more covers; ‘Can’t Help Falling In Love’ (on ukulele?!) and classic Ray Charles number ‘Hit The Road Jack’ somehow seemed entirely appropriate and new non-recorded songs pointed in future directions.
I really enjoyed the set, it must be that winning combination of 80s keyboards, bass guitar and lyrics that make you think….
Flaming June is the performing name of singer and guitarist Louise Eatock, playing a solo set of her own compositions as a warm-up for her EP official launch show with violin and percussion on March 12. The first two songs were from the new EP ‘In Pursuit Of Happiness’ and both are precautionary tales of trust and wariness, with some traditional folk imagery.
Unrecorded new song ‘Firework Maker’s Daughter’ sounds promising followed by older song ‘Stop The Ride’, with a rhythmic onslaught from the acoustic guitar. Although the songs are rooted in folk her guitar playing has a frequent rockier side and in the next new track ‘You’ve Mended Well’ she also shows some Spanish guitar stylings of rhythm and chord progressions. This feeling continues into the assertive ‘Wednesdays and Weekends’ about an ambiguous part-time relationship, compellingly sung.
‘Little Love In A Cruel World’ (“bored with life’s drudgery…”) lifts into a rousing hook-line then the intriguingly named ‘Dopamine Oxytocin’ reminds us that all these feelings are just chemicals anyway(?!) with another catchy chorus.
Louise has an enviable back-catalogue of fine songs to draw on and this was an excellent selection on show this evening.
As well as a flourishing Indie music scene in Cambridge there are many performers who take that attitude and apply it in a folk setting, one of the most regarded being Flaming June, fronted by singer/guitarist/songwriter Louise Eatock. They have been recording and playing live since 2010; I saw her recently playing a spirited and well-received solo set outdoors at the Mill Road Winter Fair, just after this EP was released.
‘In Pursuit Of Happiness’ is a lively opening track, propelled by tight drumming from Paul Richards (multi-skilled member of many Cambridge bands) and smooth violin by Di Llewellyn giving the authentic folk texture. The lyric of ‘Dopamine Oxytocin’ is about the chemical balance that causes emotional response (I think), over a frenetic acoustic guitar. Then slowing down for the yearning delights of ‘The Sailor Boy’, as so often in traditional folk it doesn’t sound like the story ends well. ‘Freedom’s Fairytale For Girls’ is the new single and pivotal track on this EP, a slow-burning song using imagery from traditional tales. ‘The Devilling Kind’ is another veiled warning, again with atmospheric violin.
Louise Eatock is a charismatic and talented performer and this is a strong set of songs, drawing effectively on folk traditions with added modern twists.