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      BETH JEANS HOUGHTON REVIEW


      Eric's, February 21


      Goodnight Lenin preceded Houghton’s gig at Eric’s and delivered a delightful introduction to the diminutive Geordie lass. Simon and Garfunkel inspired harmonies blended with a sprinkling of Mumford and Sons and a touch of Harry Potter (visually not vocally) created a mellow and youthful mix.


      They’re the modern face of music from another era. ‘Edward Colby’, ‘...a fictitious tale about a man we know nothing about’, showcased their lyrical storytelling abilities and they clearly enjoyed interacting with the crowd, even offering to do 30 second portraits for a bargain 50p.


      Beth Jeans Houghton and her band, The Hooves of Destiny, picked up the rapport baton from their support and Beth tried to encourage the somewhat shy giggers to come forward and occupy the space around her. It took a while but the space was eventually filled. Surprising that the crowd were reluctant as there seemed a genuine sense of warmth emanating her way.


      Beth Jeans Houghton looks good in denim... I’ve not seen her wearing it, at the Eric’s gig she donned splendid scarlet hotpants but I’d imagine she would. She has that cool chick vibe, a kind of Lady Gaga meets P J Harvey mish-mash going on (should you choose to label LG ‘cool’). So with style in the bag she’s just got substance to tackle. And she makes a good job of it. With vocal comparisons to Laura Marling being made in the music press, and her image being compared to various others by various others, BJH is relying on her own identity to shine through.


      Her songwriting capabilities come to the fore in new album, ‘Yours Truly, Cellophane Nose’ thus paving the way for her personality to be recognised. It expresses imagination, eccentricity and whimsy. ‘Yours Truly...’ numbers played a leading role in tonight’s performance, with renditions of ‘Liliputt’, (parading BJH’s vocal range), ‘Nightswimmer’ and ‘Dodecaheron’ proving popular. The lack of keyboard, due to the keys player having gotten a ‘proper job’ may have dictated song choice for the night but did little to detract from the impact of what did make it on the set list.


      BJH’s ethereal vocals encourage comparisons with Kate Bush and her, at times, quirky sound does little to discourage this. Hovering over the galloping and frantic intensity of The Hooves, the vocals add another distinct layer to their sound. Combined with peculiar but catchy melodies and in-house anecdotes from BJH and her band (who cultivate their own identity with their eye-catching eye make up and attire) there was much to like about this performance.


      A trip back to the 50s via ‘Honeycomb’ had toes-a tapping and an 80s inspired finale in conjunction with support Goodnight Lenin delivered a crowd-pleasing raucous rendition of Madonna’s ‘Like A Prayer’.


      Despite the seemingly obvious references made, Beth Jeans Houghton & The Hooves of Destiny have a unique quality that will ensure they remain on the radar for some time.

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