18th November | The Louisiana
After boldly battling through severe winds and finger-snapping temperatures to get to the Louisiana; I arrived at gig number four of Ardyn’s tour to promote their latest EP The Valley. The sold-out performance had a diverse mix of people which was refreshing when so many gigs are often attached to a particular scene, resulting in a uniformity of clothes and haircuts. This band, it seems, had a broader appeal.
One of Ardyn’s most successful attributes is their accessibility. At the core is a combination of conventional pop, rock and folk – but it’s what they do beyond that which sets them apart. The set started with ‘Universe’; as Katy channelled Stevie Nicks styles with her throaty and slightly rustic full-bodied crescendos. She has a distinct delivery in the way she combines the fragility of her timbre with a significant burst of power. It communicates a great deal of conviction in unison with the emotional tone of the songs.
The main stage is not a big one, so the five of them were pretty cosy. The vocals and first guitar performed by Katy and her brother formed the vanguard of the tracks. How the arrangement composed around them was a more subtle affair. Hearing that they’d originally played as a duo was an easy track back for the imagination, but I felt the presence of the full band gave them a compelling gravitas; reinforcing rather than altering the music.
Xylophone sounds crept in with the track ‘Help Me On My Way’. A steady paced song with quivering vocal tremolo’s and semi-rhapsody segments; its dynamics reminded me of Interpol as it thinned out and leapt back in with driving force. But replacing the low toned melancholy was Katy’s slightly Kate Bush folk-feeling narrative. This track in particular showed how well the band pulled from various influences and structured something of their own.
It is also worth mentioning ‘Shadowlight’ which came later on in the set. It felt more like an Adele pop diva flavoured ballad. The big full piano chords, soul-sounding vocals with melodic somersaulting was an impressive display as the rest of the band gazed on somewhat inactive for a brief period. This was a step aside from most of the set but worked well as an interlude, and prepared as for the uphill run to the finale.
Although the phrase “repetitions” worked very well in many of the songs, I did feel there were a lot of them. Some expansion of the stories being told would be well received and I feel that would draw people better into the sentiments being expressed.
Throughout there was a certain Celtic feel which was hard to put your finger on, but attributed a traditional folk feel amongst all the electronic sounds. The only artist I could think of who I would say was similar is Queen Adreena front woman’s lesser known sister Samantha Garside, who was criminally under-appreciated in her time. But for the most part, Ardyn are blessed with a well earned individuality reaped from the myriad of imaginative ideas understatedly sown into their songs, making them affecting and memorable.
Check out the video for ‘The Valley’ below.