It’s drizzly and dark outside, yet it’s still humid and sweaty as the dying embers of the summer drift away and autumn rushes in. On Womanby Street and inside it’s like a cave, dark except for a single spotlight on the stage, I enter The Moon club as locals Red Telephone are wailing caustically and spiralling through a support set. Given I missed them at Focus Wales, I am here for Canadians Tallies, who have hauled their shimmering, evocative gaze pop over the atlantic ocean for a tour. Theirs is a sound that engulfs you in its embrace like a warm hug.
Warning to drummers playing the Moon – you may be disturbed by odd characters at times, given the odd shape of the Moon’s elongated stage, the drummer is set well back. There’s a lady who looks particularly drunk irritating him, almost in his ear and bobbing along. the bassist spies her and joins in momentarily nodding and smiling with bemusement as she invades the stoic sticksman’s space attempting to join in. Once she’s gone Tallies continue to an unfurl a wonderfully shimmering sound that simmers with wisps of surf guitar supplied by Dylan Frankl on the left, and underpinned by a tight rhythm section. This is punctured by singer Sarah Cogan’s vocals, who stands front and centre with an easy going magnetism, she possesses an emotive heft that shivers up and down the register, her voice has an affecting bittersweet tone that’s both tender and powerful oscillating in that mid-point between Harriet Wheeler and Dolores O’Riordan. Their songs are tuneful and thick with a heartfelt timbre, laden with shades of both regret and joy – delivery that meditates on heartbreak and growth, amongst an atmospheric swirl that hangs in the steamy air and lights up the blues and greens that illuminate the stage. These melodies stick with you, the wistful gaze of ‘Trouble‘ tumbles forth. While the wonderful ‘Beat the Heart’ that longs for empathy in an increasingly harsh and divisive modern world, is laced with twitching drums that conjure an almost 50s rockabilly vibe, reverb smeared guitars and a catchy harmony that clutches you to its bosom, it’s like the most commercial Cocteau Twins given a widescreen framing.
‘Not So Proud’ is laced with an evocative vocal yearning and soul that throw off the shackles of anxiety with a glorious soul baring chorus, clipped almost Spector drums and gazey guitars that spiral into the night sky.
I was impressed enough by their initial run of singles to tip them at the start of their year but their debut album was a little too glossy at times. However tonight there’s a cut through from their live performance that lends these songs even more purpose and power. The metronome drums, bounding basslines and shivering vocals of ‘Mother‘ may have a touch of the Stone Roses ‘I Am The Resurrection’ about its rhythms, a case in point growing into a rippling anthem. Cogan possesses an increased intensity as she sings ‘it’s not safe it’s not safe’ with a matriarchal warning, as ladled with tip toeing, glistening arpeggios that conjures up Postcard records.
“This is our first time playing in Cardiff” notes Cogan. The thirty or forty people here to bear witness to this brisk but effective set on an evening will be thankful for its beguiling brevity, on a evening that hangs heavy with the pregnant atmosphere of the shifting seasons.