Fiel Garvie, Roquphane and The Epstein-Barr Virus Band

The Cellar, Oxford
17th June 2003

Norwich female-heavy psychedelics Fiel Garvie made Melody Maker’s Single of the Week with For What I Love in 1997, and, 2 years after their first album, release their second – Leave Me Out of This – in the Autumn. Initially sounding like The Sundays, their slightly unhinged, spookily atmospheric pop gives singer Anne Reekie a perfect platform for her breathy and ever so slightly sinister vocals. At worst sounding like a sparser and edgier Garbage, at best a Tricky-Bjork-Sigur Ros hybrid, they craft electronic intimacy though sparse arrangements, their major keys belieing their doomladen lyrics. Definitely worth checking out.

Roquphane couldn’t have been more different. Reminiscent of late-70s Old Grey Whistle Test funk rock, their upbeat jazz indie funk rock fusion quickly established them in a groove they maintained throughout the set. Their animated singer dominated proceedings with her impressively versatile and accomplished voice, while the guitar and bass, at times meandering into solos and funk riffs, were the glue that made their overall sound much greater than the sum of their parts. Refreshingly different and ones to watch.

The Epstein-Barr Virus Band changed the tone once again. Big Al & Ollie Wills, with a full backing band including members of Spartacus, brought country back to rock and roll. Less twisted than The Broken Family Band, and armed with a set of warm melody-driven full-sounding songs, they are really quite likeable; at times more bluesy and rock tinged, but always in a country vein. Their closing song, New York City Blues, was a bit of a stormer. Always accessible, and not so much quirky as individual, any band fronted by an incredibly tall man in a ten gallon hat playing harmonica solos can’t be all bad. Charming in a different way from the Trailerpark night’s other acts, but charming all the same.


From Nightshift, July 2003