Thursday, 15 November 2012

Polly and the Billets Doux - Kitchen Garden Cafe Kings Heath Birmingham Tuesday 13 November 2012

The band in full flow at the quaint Kitchen Garden Cafe
While Polly and the Billets Doux are a band that doesn’t court any specific genre loyalty, having witnessed one of their live shows they are definitely an act to look out for if your interest lies within roots music with an Americana tinge. Armed with a couple of EPs and a debut album, the band has steadily been making inroads into the industry with their own brand of stripped down melodic music. Led by the enchanting vocals of Polly Perry, the band successfully manages to dovetail the rhythmic tones of light percussion and double bass with an interchange of acoustic and electric guitar. This blend of string-based sounds perfectly supplements their collection of strongly constructed songs that are equally enjoyable either on record or in a live setting.

Having been initiated in the delights of their recordings, there was little doubt that they would be effortlessly transported and embraced by the brickwork acoustics of the Kitchen Garden Café in the eclectic Birmingham suburb of Kings Heath. So this proved to be the case, as Polly and the Billets Doux joined the growing list of highly respected roots artists to grace the Café’s intimate surroundings. This was accomplished by drawing on a collection of tunes from their previous releases and previewing a very impressive blues-influenced number titled ‘Money Tree’, which left a tantalising thought to what may appear on their next album.

From their 2010 debut album FICTION, HALF TRUTHS AND DOWNRIGHT LIES the South west based quartet opened with ‘I Would Ask’  and the audience didn’t have to wait long before the soulful ‘Follow My Feet’, probably the band’s finest song to date, had them tapping their feet. ‘Back to Earth’ and ‘To Be a Fighter’ were also featured from this record while the classy country-waltz number ‘Lead Me On’ was a perfect choice to close the show.

Of the other songs selected for the set, the band opted for the catchy ‘Hold Fast’ and ‘Hymn Song’ from their current EP released earlier this year. Also chosen was their 2011 single ‘Cry Cry’ with the song that supported it on the digital release ‘Sycamore Ships’ along with ‘Head of Steam’ from their debut EP of the same name. All these songs are well worth adding to your music collection, although genre classifying them may prove a touch difficult.
The vocal talents of Polly Perry have already been mentioned but another impressive feature of their show is the harmonies provided by double bassist Dan Everett and the source of the effective lead guitar input, Andrew ‘Steeny’ Steen. Quietly behind the scenes keeping the whole sound on track is Neil Perry on drums and percussion. Together they have formed themselves into an impressive four-piece band that have created favourable impressions in influential places and hopefully will continue to make music in the future that continues to stretch boundaries while being true to a traditional sound.

                                                          Hold Fast

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