Jane Weaver @ King Tut's, Glasgow, 12 Dec

Overall there's a feeling of imbalance, and while Jane Weaver and co play well, they sadly fail to give the new album the full justice it deserves

Live Review by Niamh Carey | 15 Dec 2017
  • Jane Weaver @ The Deaf Institute, 21 Mar

How do you continue to sound fresh after fifteen years in the music industry? Ask Jane Weaver, whose new album Modern Kosmology pulls this off with ease. Her ninth record to date is an impressive piece of folk-pop-electronica, evoking at times the eerie metallic pop of Broadcast (see The Lightning Back), and at others the intricate guitar riffs and arresting vocals of Cate Le Bon (strongest on Loops in the Secret Society). It should come as no surprise, then, that the album is an eclectic soundboard of salient alt-pop power. Indeed, fifteen years on, Weaver still exercises total command of this genre.

Tonight, Weaver is on top form, and like her music, she has magnificent presence. She's laid-back and fun (at one point exclaiming "where’s my bleedin' tambourine?" whilst casually roaming the stage on her search), but also offers a strong gravitational pull to tracks that demand it (Architect and Modern Kosmology are particular highlights). During other songs, Weaver’s transcendental vocals are a nice contrast to punky basslines, though at times they get a little lost under the wall of sound produced by the band.

Nonetheless, the band play like a well-oiled machine, and much of the driving power behind the group lies in the drummer’s ability to pull ethereal vocals, heavy basslines and sci-fi synths together into something that is pulsing and concrete (at its most intense when Argent is played). The result is a driving, rhythmic unit of sound, with an impressive level of polish. Each band member has a look of intense enjoyment as they play, and it's clear that they cherish Weaver’s world just as much as we do.

In many respects, this set has it all: Weaver cuts a fine frontwoman, her band play flawlessly, and the songs are interesting and enjoyable. Yet, somehow, the performance falls a little short. For all the attraction of the songs, the intrigue of the beats, and the charming presence of Weaver herself, the show ends on a slightly flat note. There is nothing missing here, except perhaps a sense that the band are waning after a long tour that has culminated in tonight. Overall there's a feeling of imbalance, and while Jane Weaver and co play well, they sadly fail to give the new album the full justice it deserves.