Fyfe Dangerfield | Pop review

Scala, London

As frontman of Guillemots, Fyfe ­Dangerfield has earned his reputation for marching to the sound of a different drum, so it's no surprise that he has launched a solo career while also working on Guillemots' third album. What shocks is how conventional he's become. The Dangerfield here, on the last night of a brief tour, was a distant relative of the one who frolics through gigs like a big, bearded puppy. There's a suit and tie, an acoustic guitar and a set of songs, mostly from the solo album Fly Yellow Moon, spawned by his recent state of "unmitigated loved-up bliss".

But the woman who inspired the music has since left, leaving Dangerfield in the position of having to sing tunes that now must ring hollow. She Needs Me – introduced with "I guess you want to hear the top 200 single, yeah?" – ­contrasted a euphoric lyric ("You pull another blanket round me/ 'Cos this is where I want to be/ She needs me") with a subdued performance.

Dangerfield's pearly voice was made for heartache; occasionally bolstered by two violinists, it endowed the songs with a bruised dignity. It hardly rose above a murmur on Firebird, a "weird, slightly medieval" tune that he said came to him in a dream. Great Crescendos, a raw blues anomaly that had him barking raggedly and scraping at his guitar, was the nerve-jangling odd one out.

There was a whimsical encore ­involving a ukulele and a version of Guillemots' Made-up Lovesong #43 – a hint that there's still a rollicking kid inside, biding its time until Dangerfield is feeling better.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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