Cloth @ Sneaky Pete's, Edinburgh, 29 Jan

Cloth perform cuts from their captivating debut in support of Independent Venue Week, with Annie Booth in tow

Live Review by Fraser MacIntyre | 03 Feb 2020
  • Cloth

Cloth’s Last Night From Glasgow labelmate Annie Booth is first to take to the stage on this supremely dreich Edinburgh evening. A sizeable audience (the majority of whom look like they undertook a belated ice bucket challenge 20 minutes ago) offer the Edinburgh songwriter their undivided attention as she shares emotive, intimate and blisteringly self-critical meditations new and old, that often delve into the moments of complexity and confusion that leave us seeking shelter and solitude. Her tense strumming channels the wildness of the weather we have all just escaped. Two new songs arrive towards the end of a set that features cuts from Booth’s 2017 debut LP, and her most recent release, 2019’s Spectral.

Cloth have described themselves as perfectionists, which is fortunate, as there are few other logical explanations as to how a new band that rarely performs live is capable of delivering such a slick and effortlessly compelling set, that captures and builds upon the subtleties and intensity of their self-titled debut. The record, featuring singles Old Bear and Tripp, was launched at the CCA in Glasgow last November, on the back of the trio’s short jaunt around the country in support of Aidan Moffat & RM Hubbert. Tonight is the first time the three have appeared on stage since.

It’s a joy to witness how much each member brings to the table. Clare Gallacher’s inventive percussion is a highlight, while the haunting, jittery ambience Rachael Swinton coaxes from her Telecaster beautifully intertwines with the sharp, minimalist riffs of her twin brother. Paul Swinton, like Booth did in her set, gives a welcome shout out to Independent Venue Week, which this gig is a part of. Fellow Last Night From Glasgow artists Carla J. Easton, Broken Chanter and Lemon Drink will all take to the same stage later in the week.

Curiosity Door is revealed to be the Swinton twins' love letter to Stranger Things during a hypnotic set that begins with an immersive Felt and concludes with debut single Demo Love. Less is more, as most artists will tell you, and Cloth make every note count. As dense and enveloping as their dark, sublime soundscapes are, they are, rewardingly, never too busy. At home in the intimate surroundings of Sneaky Pete's, Cloth are a live force to savour in 2020.