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Live Review: H O T E L @ Leadbelly, Newtown, 12/07/2018

There’s a chill wind on King Street, but a warmth in the bosom of Leadbelly. A muted glow permeates the murmuring current and soft clink of glasses as H O T E L emerge - refugees from the good ship Terza Madre with some new friends in tow.

Sung in the Queen’s English this time and yet no less continental, it’s woozy and hypnotic, unfurling like a curl of smoke under the door.

Hollow body guitar repurposed as cello and a sparkling left hander, strung inverted and plucked tentatively, sit over languid keys, bass and toms - all set to three so as to give the chanteuse space.

Breathy intonations, accented and purred, she is never forced to soar so our goosebumps stay at home. The soundtrack to a David Lynch film about conjoined twin detectives; it sounds like red velvet and the last drag on a gitane. It intoxicates rather than imposes.

Understated, their battle is with chatter. Their true audience is elsewhere, smoking thin cigarillos on Serge Gainsborough’s settee. A short set with a lackadaisical crescendo. Colour me intrigued.

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