The 'indie Abba'

“We’ve never played in a shoe store before, and I suspect you’ve never seen a show in a shoe store before, so we’re each other’s firsts, and we’ll remember each other forever”, said Allison Pierce at the start of the gig - dressed in a blue-red flowered dress and fawn feather earrings - most of the male-heavy crowd may have taken her joke more to heart than she intended.

The Pierces were one of the bigger bands to play at Clarks Originals this week; they are signed to Polydor, and in recent years have polished and reworked the beatnik esoterica of their deep south youth to achieve success as a dish served cold.

Their sound is folk with a helping of hooky pop, think Sia with touches of country and occasional bubblegum varnishes. Today they were accompanied by Christian on guitar, who played a brilliant role colouring the bare duets and tambourine.

They described themselves as an ‘indie Abba’ in an Observer interview this weekend, yet an acoustic session, perhaps thankfully, kept things tight and guitar on vocal.

The stand-out track was undoubtedly ‘Secret’, a jumpy little number with a slightly unsettling hook ‘Put a locket, in your pocket / Taking this one to the grave / If I show you then I know you / Won't tell what I said / Cause two can keep a secret / If one of them is dead” Allison said something about being in a cult in her Observer interview; she was joking, maybe.

‘Secret’ has done well commercially, appearing on lots of TV shows like Gossip Girl, Hi, Society and Pretty Little Liars.

Allison, looking slightly drawn, did a nice self-mirroring track about playing her ex-lover’s records “to see if you would sing my name” – most of the songs treated love and need; at times cloyingly, but this seemed to match the mood of the audience – the shop was unusually rammed, although passersby where crowded out by Pierces ultras.

‘Love You More’, the LP title track, began with an arcane, marauding guitar from Christian, and then a nicely lowering duet chorus. This seems to work more as an acoustic number as a brief viewing of their video on YouTube shows.

Catherine Pierce with white lace top, black hot pants and plumped-cushion lips sang the more penetrating part of the duet, while Allison played her own acoustic guitar whilst singing.

Their last track is dedicated to James Levy, a New York musician who is produced by Guy Berryman, Coldplay’s bassist; The Pierces March-released album is also produced by Berryman. The track begins with a submerged, latinate guitar from Christian, and is crowned with a burst chorus from both sisters ‘God bless the world that’s so glorious, that will never die, never die like you’ and you get an image of Polaroid Americana, ’68, two girls in toe-length white gowns giving out laced sugar cubes and everyone smiling out into their Friday night.

Words by Miguel Cullen

Find out more about Clarks Originals 'Original And Live' gig series on HERE.

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