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Dec 2nd 2016 @ The Blue Moon

Cambridge, United Kingdom
I Was There
Friday, December 2nd, 2016
8:00 PM
The Blue Moon
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Formed in the summer of 2008, Model Village are a self-reliant, sophistipop outfit who write songs that are confident, mature and utterly memorable at their core. The band's mix of jangly guitars, boy-girl harmonies, upbeat melodies and downbeat lyrics sit somewhere in the niche between Belle & Sebastian and The Promise Ring, if reviewers are to be believed.

The group has seen a bunch of line-up changes over the years, drawing in people with backgrounds in a whole bunch of different bands, including Econoline, Owl & Mouse, Hey Colossus, Fuzzy Lights, and Reynolds. Influenced by Jim O'Rourke, Prefab Sprout, Yo La Tengo, Steely Dan, Red House Painters, and Camera Obscura, the group pulled all these threads together to make 2015's "Healing Centre", their most compelling record to date, and the first full-length with vocalist Lily Somerville.

Both this record, and their previous albums, "A Solution To Everything" and "You Chose These Woes", have been repeatedly played across 6Music programmes, including by Gideon Coe and Steve Lamacq, as well as by John Kennedy on XFM. The group have played gigs with The Lemonheads, Allo Darlin', Jeffrey Lewis, Half Man Half Biscuit, The Wave Pictures, Adam Green, and Slow Club, appeared twice at Daylight Music at London's Union Chapel, and featured on the main stage at the Indietracks festival.

Owl & Mouse is the songwriting vehicle for talented young Brisbanite Hannah Botting, which began as a twosome with sister Jen. Those early outings have quickly grown into something altogether more fully formed, with the addition of Tom Wade (We Aeronauts) and the prolific pairing of Emma Winston and Dan Mayfield (Enderby's Room, Darren Hayman's Long Parliament).

The extra additions have given Hannah's songwriting an added musical depth, complimenting her songs' overarching themes and ideas. Straight out of the same school of Australian songwriting as The Go-Betweens, Triffids and Courtney Barnett, Hannah's words follow her compatriots' ability to be widescreen and personal at once, infused with an added degree of delicacy and poignancy. "There's definitely a theme of travel and adventure running across a lot of the songs," she says. "It's now been eight years since I moved away from my home town, and it's getting to that point where you're not really sure where your home is any more. That feeling of being a bit lost and a bit unsure but at the same time excited, is something that sits underneath all the songs." The results manifest themselves in an album, 2015's "Departures", that's both infectious and joyous - 'Misfits' and its ruminations on family; bittersweet - the brass-laden title track and its tal
es of airport arguments; and understatedly emotive - the turmoil of deciding whether to hold on to someone you love or not hold them back, detailed in 'Canvas Bags'; and 'Sinking Song's memories of the struggle of making friends in a new town, led by Wade's Stephin Merritt-esque baritone.

While nationality, family associations and honest songwriting invoke comparisons to Allo Darlin' - which Hannah diplomatically bats away by saying "It's very flattering but not very accurate in my opinion", while allying the band more with Camera Obscura and early Slow Club - that ignores Owl & Mouse's own sense of individuality and cohesion belying their relative youth as a band. Their music both swells the heart and conjures quiet reflection.

For the past 10 or so years Paul Goodwin has been Cambridge's premier pedlar of melodic melancholia. A measured songwriter with a knack for cutting self-analysis Goodwin skirts around the obvious, and finds himself floating in the gaps between folk, Americana, indie rock, and so on. He doesn't play live all that much, so take advantage of his brief flurry of activity following the release of new album "The Northern Lights in the Neon Tube".