Review: Emma Pollock, Electric Circus

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Getting here has involved negotiating road closures, diversions and tailbacks all caused by the fireworks concert at the Castle, a normally quick cross-town drive 
turning into 30 frustrating minutes, but it’s worth it to catch this underappreciated artist on the opening night of a UK tour showcasing her latest EP, a six-song split with singer-songwriter RM Hubbert – who’s also co-headlining.

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Taking to the stage with just her new guitar – called Martin, if you’re wondering – for company, it’s a set-up that allows us to marvel at how good her voice is; never resorting to showy vocal acrobatics, just pure, simple and all the more beautiful for it - the perfect complement to her wry, charming and intelligent indie-pop.

New compositions, including Rising Up and Dark Skies, written especially for actress Cora Bisset’s ambitious multi-disciplinary project, Whatever Gets You Through The Night, earlier this summer get a welcome airing, but the bulk of the set comprises tunes from her most recent long-player, the critically-acclaimed The Law Of Large Numbers.

Nine Lives retains its jazzy, ragtime quality despite the stripped-back stylings, while the delightfully straightforward Britpop-esque chord sequence in The Child In Me proves an interesting counterbalance to the frank lyrics revealing insecurities about what others think of her.

The evening’s highlight, though, comes when she is joined on stage by Hubbert and they both perform the mesmerisingly enchanting Mo Ve’la Bella Mia Da La Muntagna, an old Italian folk song.

In between, we’re treated to amusing, gently rambling asides on a variety of random subjects, everything from her obsession with obscure board games to a love of driving, the former Delgado even surprisingly confessing that she often goes to sleep clutching car magazine Autotrader.

There’s also time for a few songs, like If Silence Means That Much To You and Paper and Glue, from the debut solo album, 2007’s Watch The Fireworks.

It’s just a pity that many of her regular fans have obviously taken that literally – opting for the end-of-Festival display instead of the gig, a clash which leaves the room only half-full.

Never mind though – it’s their loss, not ours.