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Roving Reviewer: Paper House/Second Hand Heart/Canary

October 18, 2012

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The Toff In Town
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Quietly taking in the intimate surrounds at The Toff, I eagerly await the emergence of Canary; intrigued to see that Paper House have revealed a support act to live up to their generous reputation. It aids me little to hardly be able to keep my eyes open on a dreary Melbourne Wednesday night, however I’m holding on to a hope that I may be kicked back into action with the strike of the first note.

They’re late onto stage which has the soundie running around like a headless chook. Add the overheard “how far away is the bassist?” and they’re not paining the best of first impressions.

I’m quickly reminded not to judge a book by its cover as Matthew Kenneally breaks into the first installment of his lyrically-infused set and I’m immediately pulled into the imagery of the song. The band then appears for song number 2.

I’m greeted with symphonic indie-influenced guitars, a trudging bassline, blissfully well-rounded drums and a stirring trumpet to top it all off.

Despite the apparent disorganisation on stage, I’m met with a welcome crunch later in the set with a strong ‘Regurgitator’ vibe. It’s certainly mixed with a trashy, garage sound that I can’t quite put my hand on, but by the end of the set perhaps attribute to something like ‘Evermore meets Muse’.

The symphonic feel of well-arranged sound mellows out by end set and I’m left warmer, more awake, and yearning for more music.

It’s been a while for me between Second Hand Heart shows. Since last I saw, they’ve released their video for “Trouble” and gained some notable guest slots on rich lineups.

Jess Carroll & Lily Parker’s dual female harmony is always something to behold, and I’m introduced to it straight away in “Days Like These”; a vibrant, storyteller type beginning to their set.

The group plays as a more complete outfit with each passing. Pinpoint arrangements and instrumentation allows each member to compliment one another, without ever letting any particular instrument intrude and take over the setting.

After Canary’s set, I’m feeling that imagery is a key theme to tonight’s performances, as Second Hand Heart are yet another of those bands which draw a dreamscape to the listener, who cannot help but accept the invitation to walk right in.

“Sweet Little Nothings” displays the musical variety at hand. Jess Carroll belts out a soulful, grunting and dynamic vocal while the beat never loses its punch and almost ‘arty’ backbone.

As their sounds fade off into the distance, and I begin to fear that I am writing way too much, I await the arrival of Paper House.

An expectant crowd has developed by the time Paper House takes the stage. Completing a trio of ambient, vocally driven acts this Wednesday.

The song structures and strong use of background effects take me straight to a comparison with Warpaint (a comparison I have made before). The melodic and full influence of the guitar carries the musical story line in this group. No matter where I search I can’t find the names of any of the members, which is a bit of a shame, as I would love to accentuate the strong carrying dynamic held by both female vocalists. At this point, I have noted that a section of the crowd at the back are happy, however, to drown it all out.

By looks alone, you get a feeling of complexity in Paper House. Gadgets and computer-powered instruments adorn the stage, yet it’s anything but complex, simplicity driven by complexity; intricacy buried beneath a welcome aural layer, with imagery yet again at the forefront of their portrayal.

There’s almost something haunting stretching from the keys and vocal, with a droning, thick and steady bass advocating the structure along with a ‘top-end heavy’ drum technique.

Paper House very much display the current “in sound” when it comes to the long and short of it all. A hip blend of vocally based instances backed by an arty blend of whirly effects and superb musicianship.

All in all, I’m glad my eyes stayed open (albeit just) and I was able to blissfully enjoy my time at The Toff tonight, with some amazing sounds, joyful visuals and of course, the dreams and stories exploding inside my head from the three amazing acts at hand.

Bravo! – 4/5 pots full o’ greatness

Melting Pot’s Roving Reviewer rocks up unannounced – where will he be next? Find out by checking back in each week to find out about some of the other brilliant acts skating around this magnificent musical city of ours.

The views expressed in this article are the views of the author and not necessarily the views of Melting Pot.

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