The Once in Leeds
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds
Monday 21st January 2019, £9.00
Newfoundland has a storied history of stunning songwriters, poets and players. Over the course of the last decade The Once have writ and knit themselves into that story. Within the nine songs on their new album Time Enough, The Once offer some of the most vulnerable and honest material of their career. The up-tempo album opener, ͞I Can't Live Without You,͟ reflects on women battling with self-image issues and offers wisened words to be the positive change in their own lives. The gritty guitar driven ͞Before The Fall͟succumbs to the notion that we must accept our past and use those memories to grow. Riff rocker ͞Any Other Way͟ reflects the fact that true love accepts us at our worst but insists we do the work to be our best selves to keep it together. On this, their fourth studio album, the band stays true to the root strength of their harmony driven sound, while extending the borders into fresh yet familiar territory. They craft a sonically understated, but emotionally fulsome sound that accomplishes what they've always done so well: stun listeners with what Amelia Curran calls "perfect vocal harmonies, thick enough to stand on." ͞We approached Time Enough with an open heart and on open mind. We composed apart and came together to Once-up the new material,͟ says lead singer Geraldine Hollett of the band's writing process. ͞We are pretty tough customers so it was scary bringing so much guts to the table, but over the years we have earned and accepted one another's trust. This album is special because of it.͟The story of The Once is one of growth, propelled by the rare chemistry that comes from a decade of writing and touring together. Their songs have been placed in international film and television, they have YouTube videos with millions of hits, and there's a trail of trophy nominations and wins from the East Coast Music Awards, the Canadian Folk Awards, and the JUNO Awards in their wake. SInce first hitting the road in 2009, The Once has earned one of the most loyal followings in the country. Ask their fans why they love the band and watch their eyes widen as the words flow. It becomes clear that The Once ain't regular folk. They've built something unique within their genre, and something rare within the fan base that keeps them growing and going strong and they do not take that fan base for granted. ͞We give all we got to them because we know we can't do what we want to do if they're not with us,͟ says Hollett of those who have shown endless support for the group. It was this resonance with fans that launched their career and it is this deep relationship that continues to inspire the band to travel new paths, explore new territory, and create new music. Geraldine Hollett's voice is a large part of the band's ethereal sound, and there is nowhere it would sit better than in between the rhythmic and supportive voices of Phil Churchill and Andrew Dale, and the lush soundscapes they build. The trio's instrumentation and vocals meld together like gold, building something stronger together than any one songwriter could muster alone. Their harmonies grab you by the heart, and their music melts what's left of it. Building on the wave of creative energy that defined their last album, Time Enough is a striking and subtle sea change for the band. Dive in, get lost, click repeat.
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