By Gig Scene Editor Graham Chalmers
Wonderfully dark, beautifully crafted, Dragonfly Tattoo’s new EP is very close to being the best thing I’ve ever heard by a local band.
Boasting a haunting blend of fragility and strength, to describe it thus is not to damn these six remarkable tracks with faint praise.
As written, and sung, by the quietly brilliant Vicky Whelan, Closer to the Sun is one of the best things I’ve heard by anyone anywhere this year.
The sound of a woman tortured by guilt and desire in equal amounts, this mesmerising new collection of songs was recorded mostly live in fellow local band Hope & Social’s recordings studios.
Perhaps the atmosphere of the church crypt fed into the sessions but the result, as expertly engineered by Hope & Social’s Rich Huxley, is a panting, moaning, purring, groaning thing of wonder.
Both pretty and scary at the same time, tracks like the eerie What You Leave Behind or the ever-circling title track come close in tone to the dark sensuality of PJ Harvey, Nick Cave and Kate Bush.
Only the gospel choir-like final track Before You Leave the Road threatens to break the spell and suggest any hope of redemption
Elsewhere, this piano and cello-dominated collection proceeds with stealth, Vicky’s subtly effective and supple vocals matched by a terrific instrumental performance by her band.
From the crunch and snarl of opening track Mad Cat Woman to the stately, semi-classical music mood of Spider Song, Dragonfly Tattoo’s stunning mix of drama and melody hits the brain and the heart at the same time.
Dragonfly Tattoo’s launch night for Closer to the Sun EP is at The Regency in Harrogate on Friday, July 18. Support from Oscilantern.