Gig Review: The Library Trust, Briton’s Protection, Manchester, July 23, 2005

We are, at the moment, seriously getting sucked into the big black hole of singer-songwriters. Pretty soon Ledge and I are going to grow our hair long, start wearing birkenstocks, wooley sweaters and begin debating whether or not the definitive version of “Hallelujah” is by Leonard Cohen or Jeff Buckley and whether Dylan destroyed his own reputation by going electric. It’s worrying me, to be quite frank.

Last night we went to see an up-and-coming Manchester artist by the name of Robert Edwards, a.k.a. The Library Trust. It was a launch party for his new EP, Build Your Own Snowglobe. We were prompted to this when I saw in a writeup that he had been compared to Sparklehorse, Belle & Sebastian and Nick Drake. That’s quite a glowing recommendation around these parts, so we figured we’d see what it was like. I’m not sure where the Sparklehorse comparison came from, but Edwards’ performance has certainly left me interested in hearing his EP.

How to describe him? He’s young, he writes songs and he performed on stage with a cellist for a couple of tracks, and a very nervous-looking female backing singer for a couple of tracks, but the rest of his short set was just him, his guitar and his lovely voice. Ledge reckoned he heard a bit of Luke Haines in Edwards’ vocals, mainly because he sings in a very strong English accent. At times I felt there was a bit of Bright Eyes coming through as well. The Nick Drake and Belle & Sebastian comparisons made sense too, as there was a very light, sweet element to his tunes, even when he was singing about depression and failed relationships. So, it wasn’t your typical folky-sounding bloke with a guitar – unlike the opening act The Quiet Loner, who was nice enough, but was your typical folky-sounding angry man with a guitar. We enjoyed it. We enjoyed it enough that I’d go see The Library Trust play again. And we enjoyed it enough that I’d recommend that anyone reading this do the same.

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