Emma ruth run­dle

DArKHer

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Live - The lex­ing­ton, lon­don HAN­NAH MAY KIL­ROY

The fact that DARKHER [7]’S guitarist oc­ca­sion­ally saws away at his strings with a vi­o­lin bow seems more a gim­mick than a ben­e­fit, but that’s the only air of pre­tence to Darkher’s – aka flame-haired York­shire­woman Jayn Wis­senberg – som­bre yet spell­bind­ing dark pas­toral folk and crush­ing doom. It’s a cosy setup tonight for Mar­riages vo­cal­ist EMMA RUTH RUN­DLE [7]’S in­ti­mate set, and it feels like watch­ing a friend per­form. For the first two songs, it’s just Emma and her guitar, and the au­di­ence are si­lent. “You’re so po­lite!” she ob­serves, but it’s more likely that ev­ery­one is trans­fixed by her eerily beau­ti­ful melodies and raw yet rich unique voice. A back­ing band join her, giv­ing the songs a heavy oomph but los­ing none of the in­ti­macy. Emma’s mu­sic is si­mul­ta­ne­ously soft and gut-wrench­ing – like in Pro­tec­tion, where the melody is gor­geous but the lyrics and emo­tive de­liv­ery show pain and an­guish. For the fi­nale, she goes full-on acous­tic, shun­ning the mic and leav­ing her guitar un­plugged for the pas­sion­ate and ten­der Real Big Sky. There isn’t a dry eye in the house.

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