Rising band perform spectacular show
Lizzie Goodman

12:55 4th April 2014

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Arising from the Lake District’s ornate mountains, it is no surprise that this foursome have a cabalistic, celestial quality to their refined sound.

White pyramids on the stage, which in the subtle, mutating light resembled an ancient campsite in an enchanted wood, gave the affair a festive, arcane sensibility.

Sparse sonics and 80s echoes, created a transcendent, pathos drenched experience, with no depleted impact or fallacious thrills required.

Preluding with primarily new material, the fourth track, with an Asian influenced intro, matured allowing lead vocalist, Fiona Burgess, to attain composed exalted highs, as the band pursue with fluid synchronicity. The track had an ethereal, coy elegance about it, reminiscent of early Bjork and Portishead.

Fiona, thorns in hair and dark angel attire, her brother William Burgess (guitar), Nicolas Graves (bass) and Josh Hunnisett (keyboards), poised, drenched in spotlights’ sombre glare, for their third offering ‘Thunder’. This poignant, disciplined piece was indicative of the whole night - compassionate, subdued, with no over indulgence.

Then came ‘I Need You’ and ‘Her Ghost’, this maternal, sophisticated material, holds a similar power to Sigur Rós, in that in needs no language, emotion is the decree.

By the time ‘In The End’ arrived, Fiona was so comfortable within herself that her ardour encased the audience, as she bestowed and then arrested, as if cherishing something esoteric.

Next was an array of older material, an acapella, a revitalised cover of the up-tempo 80s classic ‘Dancing in the Dark’ and more fresh material featuring only Fiona and a piano.

In the encore, Woman’s Hour imparted the track ‘Conversations’, which is not only the title song from the new album to be released on Secret Canada records, but also more effervescent than their other material, yet still steeped in tenderness.

The closer was ‘Our Love Has No Rhythm’, a track that propelled Woman’s Hour into the music media’s psyche with its atmospheric wallows and hollow, ghostly sincerity.

What’s outstanding about Woman’s Hour is that each component comes into play, but does not overrule, in the subtly ebbing a flowing wonder of sensual ambience. They seem to not only have avoided, but completely rebelled against, the current tradition to overcomplicate and combine genres - with Woman’s Hour, beautiful simplicity rules.

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Photo: Richard Gray