This packed out Islington pub was bursting at the seams with sparkly-eyed anticipation of what turned out to be a spellbinding performance by Gothenburg band Pale Honey, but the support act, White Fever, were also excellent. With powerfully driving guitar dynamics and soaring three-part dream-pop harmonies, their Beating of Wings EP is available from their website, and they’re well worth catching live.
On rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Pale Honey’s Tuva Lodemark has a calmingly ethereal presence, as does her bandmate Nelly Daltrey, seated patiently at her minimalist drum set. The band was augmented this evening by two lithe, bearded gentlemen on second guitar and bass/keys respectively. This line-up delivered effortlessly crisp and hypnotic rhythms, upon which Lodemark wove her delicate, warmly heartfelt vocal melodies.
Within the first few songs, the venue became enraptured by Lodemark’s lullaby harmonies flowing dreamily over the guitars. The quietly insistent beats metered out by Daltrey against the swirling reverberating vocals reminded me a little of U.S. indie duo Joy Zipper, with a light dusting of Siouxsie’s Banshees here and there.
Easily pleased by the pure sound of a reverb-y Fender guitar being neatly strummed, I was sold on this band from the first few bars. And with the expanded line-up, the guitars on tracks like ‘Youth’ swelled into meaty and satisfying muted riffs, justifying comparison to some of PJ Harvey’s grungier moments.
‘Desert’ was my favourite track, with its atmospheric guitar noodlings and subtle melody that Lodemark delivered with equal measures of sweetness and sadness, Daltrey’s crisp backing giving the track a plaintive feel that exemplified their breezy and effortless style.
At one point Lodemark told us that it was their first visit to London, and asked what should they do, to which a lone voice from the throng replied “Go Home!” – to which the room reacted with collective pantomime derision. However they ended up whiling away their downtime, I felt that most present would warmly receive them next time they grace our shores, though the venue may not be as intimate; their subtly crafted and glowing offerings would charm and mesmerise those present.
Their debut album is available from their website, and they informed me that a vinyl copy will be available in a month or so.