Gravenhurst - Live At St. Pancras Church, London

An immaculate conception...
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Gravenhurst isn’t a name plucked from the ether, snatched from the forces of chance.

Nick Talbot knew what he was doing when he adopted the moniker. Listening to recent album ‘The Ghost In Daylight’ you’re struck by how apt the whole persona, the name really is – it’s a stark, sometimes desolate collection of songs (‘grave’) filtered through a profoundly English consciousness (‘hurst’).

So it’s perhaps appropriate that Talbot has decided to launch his latest opus in St Pancras Church. An immaculate conception, the show opens with a solo set from Sonic Cathedral associate Fairewell.

Armed with only an acoustic guitar, the stripped down set allows Fairewell to present a humble, human side. Tunings are accomplished at the great length, with the strings winding down alongside some rambling yet engaging anecdotes.

Arriving onstage, Gravenhurst is an oddly unassuming proposition. Clutching his acoustic guitar, Nick Talbot is joined by guest vocalist Rachel Lancaster – two thirds of his new Gravenhurst assemble.

Beautifully produced, the material from ‘The Ghost In Daylight’ dominates the show. The setting fits the music, with Nick Talbot’s quiet, unassuming nature allowing his songcraft to really take centre stage.

Whether fiddling with equipment or unfurling a humorous story, Talabot is never less than engaging. Switching to an electric guitar for ‘The Prize’ the Bristol based artist is able to raise the volume a little, but never at the expense of his delicately assembled songwriting.

Surrounded by religious paraphernalia, Gravenhurst seems to bring out both the absurdity and beauty of the situation. Bumbling yet effective, the performance ends with Talbot drowned out by the ringing of church bells. It’s all so pleasingly English.

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