Live at Brudenell Social Club on Sunday, 9th October 2011
During the course of the hour Emma Moss is on stage tonight she ponders whether MSN is an outdated reference, apologises for over-using the term 'sexy', invites us all to add her as a friend on Google+ and urges us to show our appreciation by earning her zoo bucks on the Tiny Zoo app. In between this dissection of the pitfalls and joys of twenty-first century living she delivers a luminous set of folk-tinged jangle pop that comes with a pleasingly abrasive and caustic edge that leaves you in no doubt that there is a steely, punk soul lurking not too far below the surface of these infectious melodies.
She begins in disarmingly subdued fashion alone at the microphone, fixing the crowd with a piercing, almost confrontational stare before she is joined by her band for an atmospheric, seductively undulating rendition of Dinosaur Sex. Mia comes with an unintentional introduction that conflates first dates with car crashes, which provokes an amusing request from Moss for some happy music to break the curse, a request that is duly met by her band in the form of a barn dance hoedown. Current 6Music favourite Paper Forest (In The Afterglow of Rapture) is predictably astonishing, the subtlest change of inflexion in her voice suggesting whole new emotional worlds. First Love is a swirling, tender eddy of a song which concludes with a beautiful crescendo of vocal harmonies. A breezy cover of Weezer's Islands in the Sun, possibly in honour of Mikey Walsh, offers an interlude of sorts before Moss brings the gig to a close with an aching, beatific version of Trellick Towers and a quietly excoriating, malcontented 24; the frustration of the lyrics palpable and yet you are somehow left feeling uplifted. It seems this ability to balance these two opposing forces so effortlessly is just one of the talents of this extraordinarily gifted songwriter. No-one in the audience tonight could have disagreed with the women who was driven to declare her love for Moss. She is amazing indeed.