Kristin McClement launches ‘the Wild Grips’

Kristin McClement launched her new album ‘The Wild Grips‘ on Saturday night in Brighton at the One Church on Gloucester Parade, the latest in a long line of incredible music from the Willkommen Records stable.

Support act Benjamin Benedict, a solo Ben Rubinsteain – lead singer with Mariner’s Children, had a bit of a cold which made his reverbed vocals sound a lot like one of those early 60s English pop singers favoured so much by the likes of Joe Meek.  That was no bad thing. Supporting Willy Mason also seemed to rub off on Ben. He started off a bit snuffly and hesitant, but showed the strength of his songwriting and singing in the last three songs.

Benjamin Benedict

Benjamin Benedict

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But this was really all about Kristin McClement, whose album ‘The Wild Grips‘ has been a long long time coming. Song ‘Planks’ was a highlight of the first Willkommen Collective compilation way back in 2009, but little McClement music had emerged since then, despite her regularly venturing forth to play live in a variety of formations, lately most commonly as a two-piece with drummer and backing vocalist Julian Owens. Now her long-awaited debut is out in the world, recorded with Christian Hardy of the Leisure Society who featured on keyboards here in an expanded live band.

Kristin McClement

Kristin McClement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McClement’s set began with her solo, playing the beautiful mournful ‘Mouthful of Shells’, then she was joined by drummer Owens for ‘Planks’, another stunning song. This is the mainstay of her live performances in normal times, but for the remainder of the set her stage support grew to feature Christian Hardy, three quarters of Eyes and No Eyes as well as multi-instrumentalist Emma Gatrill and the aforementioned Owens, allowing the rich sounds of the album to be re-created live.

The ‘The Wild Grips’ is an extraordinary collection of mournful yet beautifully crafted and poetic songs, with McClement’s deep resonant voice dominant throughout. Songs like ‘Hoax of a Man’ and the aforementioned ‘Mouthful of Shells’ are particular favourites, but the whole work is genuinely quite special. There’s the lost princess spirit of the alt-folk heroine Sibylle Baier in the intimate cool of the songs, but enriched with the talents of the Willkommen collective the musical depth of the playing comes into finer focus. Julian Owen’s percussion and backing vocals are particularly noteworthy, as was the playing of the gritty soulful celloist Becca Mears.

The main set ended with the Drink Waltz {‘Drink with me’) in which the audience were asked to join in the poignant chorus, not easy given the awkward flow of the words but achieved with aplomb. Then the band returned for an encore of the album’s title-track , a deeply elegant and personal song. Perhaps not an obviously uplifting way to end a show, with its dark lyric, but the band lifted the gloom and filled the large Baptist church hall leaving the audience mesmerised and happy.

Kristin McClement

Kristin McClement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Listen to the opening track ‘Blackfin Gulls’ below

https://soundcloud.com/kristin-mcclement/blackfin-gulls

The album ‘The Wild Grips’ can be ordered via bandcamp at  https://kristinmcclement.bandcamp.com/

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Kristin McClement launches ‘the Wild Grips’

  1. I could not only be more excited for this, but i also couldn’t be prouder of Kristin. Phenomenal music, phenomenal soul. Much love, Alison God bless x x

  2. Pingback: The Knights Project, Kristin McClement and Dom Prag and the Pillow Biters at Coachwerks | Brighton Music Blog

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