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Emma Pollock

Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh
3 stars
It’s been quite a week for the class of ’96, who, on the east coast at least, came up through bills at Edinburgh’s first ever decent independent music festival, Planet Pop. After Mogwai headlining The Liquid Room’s tenth anniversary celebrations, former Delgados vocalist and guitarist Emma Pollock’s debut tour with a band after a year of acoustic shows is an equally grown-up exercise in mature artistry.

Except, last weekend’s Aberdeen date was aborted after Pollock and co arrived to find a venue who knew nothing about it, while the 7” copies of forthcoming debut single, Adrenaline, failed to arrive in time to make tonight’s merchandise stall. To top it all, keyboardist Jamie Savage was off buying an ice cream when he should’ve been loading up the van, and a late arrival subsequently ensued.

Pollock relates all this with a maternal charm recalling early Delgados shows. The only difference being, of course, is that, despite Delgados drummer and partner Paul Savage in tow, she very much calls the shots now. Signed to 4AD Records, home of major female vocalists from The Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser to Kim Deal of The Pixies, Pollock’s freedom to extend her range unfettered by her previous outfit’s four-way democratic split leaves her exploring a distillation of such forbears.

So, while the opening numbers mine a similar vein of waltz-time melancholia The Delgados did so deliciously, Fortune finds her dark warble resembling Chrissie Hynde, and Limbs comes on like flower power era Joni Mitchell. Such mainstream potential bodes well for forthcoming album, Watch The Fireworks, and if old edges have been smoothed off, it’s a solo artist’s curse Pollock can probably live with.

The Herald, May 16th 2007

ends

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