After what had been an unseasonably bright and warm winter’s day, the sun has retreated, the sky dimmed to grey. We have trudged the drab, gum-spattered streets, traversed the bare concrete tunnels of the London transport network, where of course our planned service was cancelled, and traipsed along an exposed walkway from Hackney Wick to the flat yellow street lights of Hackney Central. Pulling our coats tight against the growing cold, we push open the door to Paper Dress Vintage, make our way upstairs to the live room, and are suddenly bathed in warmth and colour as Piney Gir and her band take to the stage and burst into song.
We’ve long been fans of the London-based, Kansas-born singer-songwriter, and with every new release she seems to add a further string to her bow. With You Are Here, her forthcoming seventh LP, this comes in the form of a woozy psychedelia, which adds a dream-like tinge, and the occasional shadowy corner to the Technicolor Americana and bright garage pop of some of the earlier tunes that are sprinkled throughout tonight’s set.
Taking centre stage on lead vocals, omnichord and hand percussion, Piney is joined by a pair of backing singers in matching print outfits, adding at turns dreamy swirls of ethereal vocal zephyrs and finger clicking sixties girl group sparkle. Guitars, drums, keys and even the occasional bit of saxophone provide a musical backdrop that drifts effortlessly between decades: a pinch of doo-wop here, a sultry slice of electropop there, a sprinkling of sugary indie pop, a healthy dollop of country and a punky zest thrown in for good measure, yet all of these disparate ingredients come together to form a midnight feast worthy of Piney’s excellent Drunk Cookery zine, which is on sale at the merch stand.
Tonight we get a few glimpses of what You Are Here has in store for us, with recent singles ‘Dreamcatcher’, ‘The Great Pretend’ and ‘Peanut Butter Malt Shop Heartthrob’ all stand-outs, and based on tonight’s performance, we can’t wait to hear more.
Review and Photography by Paul Maps