C. Duncan At Whelan’s – Review
First time in Dublin for C. Duncan, adverse weather spoils the support, they missed the boat.
Christopher explains laughing, ‘we almost didn’t make it’ to an eager Whelan’s audience. The end of a three week tour for the Glaswegian singer songwriter, Mercury music prize nominee, the evening promises beautiful choral harmonies nestled neatly into a dreamy pop framework.
Performing songs from his album Architect, the band recreate its lo-fi aesthetic, atmospheric instrumentation opening ‘Say’, vocal harmonies humming throughout in three parts as keyboards swirl an airy dynamic web, a laid back groove, guitar plucking lazily along.
The son of two classical musicians, the influence is most recognisable in the vocals, especially the bright falsetto chorus of ‘Novices’ and dreamy harmonies of ‘Architect’ redolent of quaint English folk. ‘Silence and Air’ is set a little speedier than the album version, snare rim shots tapping furiously, vocals glistening at dynamic interludes when the drums drop out.
New song ‘Do I Hear?’ appears sombre and melancholic, with an ethereal chorus while the jarring guitar intro of ‘Garden’ beats together definitely with bass and drums, handclaps adding a snappy rhythm, falsetto hooks settle in nicely. The backing vocals of ‘I Feel So Alive’ create movement against the rhythm section, stabbing keyboards providing momentum beating towards the electric guitar wailing at the climax.
Short set offers never a lull or dull moment with ‘Castle Walls’ displaying a poignant four part a capella, providing beautiful folk charm and silencing the chatter. When you sing as sweet as this, all ears tend to listen.