Cherry Ghost | Pop review

Fibbers, York

Bolton's Cherry Ghost are a product of the same north-west drizzle as Elbow, Doves and I Am Kloot. Like their fellow northern souls, they play hard-bitten, anthemic northern melancholy. Cherry Ghost's twangy epics, however, have a slight spaghetti-western, Americana feel; stony-faced in dark clothing, in a past life the quintet almost certainly clutched guns, not guitars.

There are times, though, when one can't avoid a sense of deja vu. Where Elbow's Guy Garvey traditionally greets audiences with a gentle "Is everybody OK?", Cherry Ghost's Simon Aldred asks "Are you all well?", and his rich, dark croon is occasionally reminiscent of Richard Hawley's. His lyrics veer into I Am Kloot's territory of alcoholic, troubled souls – though his subject matter is brilliantly observed, from the person in Barberini Square whose face "could launch a bare-knuckle fight" to the protagonist of Kissing Strangers who stumbles from bar to one-night stand in search of oblivion and a killer chorus.

The band have some fabulous songs, mostly from their second album, this year's Beneath This Burning Shoreline. A Month of Mornings' "old rolling river" hookline is haunting; We Sleep On Stones matches Aldred's compelling words about vengeance with an infectious rhythm that shuffles like a boxer's feet.

Where 2007's Thirst for Romance went top 10, Beneath This Burning Shoreline only grazed the top 40. The band have re-emerged in an overcrowded genre. Although the brooding feel is occasionally broken by a trumpet or, during the glorious Black Fang, a sampled choir, tonight's set lacks enough to lift the gloom or set them apart from their peers. By the time they pour Bolton drizzle over an unlikely cover of CeCe Peniston's hit Finally, it has actually started raining.

• At O2 Academy, Sheffield (0844 477 2000), tomorrow. Then touring.

Contributor

Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

I Am Kloot – review
With a foot on a beer crate and his glass raised, frontman John Bramwell is a far cry from the characters usually commanding audiences here but Kloot still deliver a spiritual experience, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

11, Nov, 2012 @4:21 PM

Deer Shed festival – review
The family-friendly Deer Shed festival provided a 'very civilised' afternoon lineup, but the evening brought spicier acts, and then a shared mournful moment in impromptu tribute to Amy Winehouse, writes Dave Simpson

Dave Simpson

25, Jul, 2011 @5:01 PM

Article image
Nadine Shah review – 'She commands complete attention'

This is a dramatic, compelling performance and one far removed from the down-to-earth Geordie revealed between songs, writes Betty Clarke

Betty Clarke

27, Mar, 2014 @6:00 PM

Article image
I Am Kloot: 'I hope we're going to reach people who have never heard us' | Music feature

Nine years after forming, Manchester's men about town I Am Kloot look set finally to breath through, says Luke Bainbridge

Luke Bainbridge

03, Jul, 2010 @11:05 PM

Article image
Elbow – review

With his battered, everyman persona, Guy Garvey managed to transfer Elbow's intimate, huge-hearted songs to the O2's vast arena, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

03, Dec, 2012 @5:52 PM

Article image
Elbow review – A triumph of steady charm, finely crafted

Riding high with their hit album The Take Off and Landing of Everything, Elbow's shrewdly anthemic indie rock aspires to connect with bigger issues, writes Malcolm Jack

Malcolm Jack

07, Apr, 2014 @11:45 AM

Article image
Elbow review – an embrace of ferocious tenderness
Guy Garvey prowls the stage like a battered, beaming bear as Elbow thunder through a storm of fervent, fragile musings on matters of the heart

Ian Gittins

05, Mar, 2017 @12:11 PM

Article image
Guy Garvey review – big-hearted singer luxuriates in extra musical elbow room
The lugubrious baritone and jovial banter are as we’ve come to expect, but going solo has allowed Garvey to experiment and have fun

Ian Gittins

02, Dec, 2015 @3:29 PM

Houndmouth – review

Whatever you make of Houndmouth's folksy Americana, you can't fault them for performing with such winning ebullience, writes Malcolm Jack

Malcolm Jack

28, May, 2013 @5:11 PM

I Am Kloot | Pop review
Bush Hall, London
The Manchester band's new album looks set to be their breakthrough – and they've acquired an orchestra to match their rising status, writes Ian Gittins

Ian Gittins

17, Jun, 2010 @9:00 PM