Dalkey may be known to most in Ireland as the ‘home to the stars,’ boasting inhabitants such as Van Morrisson, Enya and ‘King of iTunes’, Bono. However, while the stars may reside in Dalkey, it’s another seaside town a little bit further down the coast that has become the current hub of future Irish stars. Having already produced the likes of Dara O’Briain, Katie Taylor and, of course, the man of the moment Hozier; there’s clearly something special happening in Bray and on Thursday night, Wyvern Lingo demonstrated as much.
Smock Alley Theatre isn’t renowned for hosting many live gigs but it proved to be the perfect venue with its stonewall backdrop and comprehensive lighting rig; creating the perfect intimate atmosphere. Up first was Dublin Gospel Choir’s Carly Coonagh showcasing her solo material. Coonagh’s lyrics are compelling and her vocals outstanding but her guitar playing on the night, lets her down. This is an artist with huge potential but without the backing of a band, or an accompanying guitarist, she may struggle to fulfill such potential.
It’s been a week to remember for Wyvern Lingo. On Friday, the short Irish Hozier tour for which they’ll play support, sold out completely. This news was then followed closely by the announcement that their own EP launch, had also sold out. Kicking off the set with Fools, the trio waste no time in demonstrating exactly what it is that makes them one of the most promising acts in the country. Harmonious vocals woven over perfectly crafted melodies are their forté and Fools is a prime example.
It’s instantly noticeable that Smock Alley is an incredibly intelligent venue choice. The acoustics are ideal to showcase the girls’ sound. Title track of the EP, The Widow Knows, is quickly followed by Snow which is described as somewhat of a response to Simon & Garfunkel’s I Am A Rock. The halfway point of the set is a highlight as they play a new track by the name of Sweet Life Ruiner. It contains countless genre jumps carefully combined to create a classic pop song as they sing about a tumultuous relationship; “He’s a bully, he’s a thief, he’s a bad man. He’s a sweet life ruiner. But I’d take him back any day, yes I’d take him back anyway.”
Fairytale is nervously introduced by Karen Cowley, who reveals for the first time to a live audience, the story behind the lyrics. It’s the darkest track that the trio possess and understandably so as Cowley reminisces; “He took you by surprise when he grabbed your wrist like that.”
The light show which closes out Tricks is stunning as combined with the effortless howls of the band, create the sense that those in attendance are in the middle of a lightning storm. If there was a criticism to be made, it’d be that some of the tracks are slightly too long. There are unnecessary instrumentals and the closing verse to Tricks is somewhat superfluous.
Fountains is heavy-hitting before quietness descends on the Smock Alley main room for the jaw-droppingly beautiful Used which is unique in its ability to completely silence any crowd it’s played to. Sang acapella, its harmonies and lyrical content are so on point that it’s no wonder that some are calling this the best single to come out of Ireland this year. The end of the song is met with a standing ovation and a round of applause which doesn’t end until Wyvern Lingo have long left the stage. It’s a scene the trio from Bray will have to grow accustomed to as this, surely, is only the beginning.
Wyvern Lingo play The Sugar Club, Dublin on February 26th 2015. Tickets are on sale on Friday, October 24th at 9am.