House Above The Sun live at The Monarch, 40 Chalk Farm Road, Camden.
There are lots of things to like about South London four piece House Above The Sun, but probably the thing that makes them most interesting is the lyrical world that lead singer and guitarist Jim Moreton draws you into.
Take their track Footsteps, which they drop approximately half way through their set in the party like atmosphere of Camden Folk's birthday celebrations. Over a stripped down almost gospel backing that's reminiscent of Spirituilized's Ladies and Gentleman... album, Jim reveals that he's "just doin' time for bad behaviour." Naturally, he leaves it to our collective imagination to guess what that black mark against his character might be, but that only makes it more intriguing. As does the smouldering intensity he delivers such revelatory, redemptive confessions, rhythmically strumming on his Telecaster as though he were off in a universe of his own.
When they play a track from their first EP entitled Still My Flesh and Blood, we witness Jim is coming to terms with a turbulent family life, and, with a Morrissey-esque flourish that brings a smile among such trauma, he shares with us that it's those conversations about the weather that really do him in.
All of which would be great on it's own but not much use without a bit of musical power to bring it up, and House Above The Sun have that too. The first song of the evening, Tamopah has a swooping quality that moves from a whisper to a growl in a mater of seconds, and it rocks out in no uncertain terms. Where The Eagles Dare has a country feel that - somewhat obviously - bring The Eagles to mind, while at other times it's the interplay between Jim and fellow singer and guitarist Ariel Moreton, in terms of gorgeous harmonies and six string interplay, that takes the breath away.
Celebrating the release of their debut, self-released album, Five Hours North, tonight the band are clearly going places. Their sound is certainly mainstream enough - see also echoes of Fleetwood Mac and The Stones - but there's something individual and distinctive about the messages beneath the surface.
Catch now before they make it to the enormodomes of this world would be our advice.
Reviewed by John Robbins 25/10/2017
Photos by Anna Laymond
Photos by Anna Laymond