ROB ST. JOHN + DEAN MCPHEE + C JOYNES
Mon 29th Apr @ CB2 basement, Norfolk St
Doors 8pm, £6 adv from here
ROB ST. JOHN
Rob St John’s debut album, Weald, came out in 2011. Ostensibly a melodic folk album full of gentle guitar figures over bowed strings, it had about it a cold gothic splendour and a throbbing heart of granite and limestone. What it also had was a kind of questing, abstract wisdom – wisdom channelled from the muted voices of landscape and history. It grew on the listener like lichen. Before and after Weald, across a variety of projects – musical and otherwise – St John has revealed himself to be a keen observer of place and landscape, bringing back chunks of the places he’s visited - in flowing prose pieces and open-hearted songs. His new album is a lighter affair, more concerned with the coming of spring than the pooled shadows of winter. Come, call forth the spirits…
There’s an elemental purity to Dean McPhee’s signature guitar sound, a kind of trilled silvery quality, part birdsong, part finely worked metal. His two releases to date, the Brown Bear 12” and his debut album Son of the Black Peace, have featured long melodic guitar explorations, based around simple thumb-struck basslines and intricate, bright clusters of notes, spiralling outwards in melodic progressions. These spirals seem to create space around themselves as they wind outwards from his guitar, and his use of delay and reverb increases this sense of temporal and spatial expansion. McPhee also has an implicit understanding of the the power of silence, and live, the overall effect is mesmeric and captivating.
England’s most vital of the post-Takoma guitarists. The modern-day Histon giant. The man with the golden fingers.