Good things come to those who wait. Russell Marsden and Emma Richardson EMMA RICHARDSON (emmarichardsonart.com) were set to perform live after two years. On a cold February evening at St Pancras Old Church, London an intimate venue fans would see the Band of Skulls duo sing old and new songs from their self titled album “Marsden & Richardson” Band of Skulls | Official Site.
Every inch of the altar was taken up with microphones, speakers, amplifiers, cables, pedal boards, guitars and a string orchestra. The new album is a departure from their trademark loud rock sound and replaced with sweeping violins, strings, acoustic guitars, bass and is more focused on the magic of their lyrics. Their last album was “Love Is All You Love” released in 2019 and they had toured all over England and North America in venues many times bigger than this church.
The songs for the new album had already been formed and written but never fitted their loud rock personas so during lockdown they rehearsed and then recorded 12 songs. The opening song of the night was “Outsider” the first track from the new album backed with a string orchestra the effect was completely exhilarating. Where there would have been an undulating bass and heavy guitars these had been replaced by the duo’s acoustic voices and filled every heart with awe and wonder.
In hushed anticipation the crowd listened to Marsden and Richardson sing more songs from the new album such as “One More Question“, “Closer Together” and “Lonely Hearts“. This was serious music for adults, each song hit the audience with precision, the strings carried the songs on an interstellar trajectory to undiscovered musical lands.
One of the outstanding moments of the night was when the duo did an even more stripped down version of “Beautiful Love” with Russell on piano and Emma using hand claps to generate a beat for the song. The effect was electrifying and sent the crowd into rapturous applause at the end of each song.
Old songs were given similar high octane orchestral riffs and songs such as “Honest” and “The Devil Takes Care Of His Own” were such a delight to hear and the result was a charismatic, addictive monstrous songs given new life. These repurposed songs showed the versatility of the song writing and strong foundation of the original lyrics.
If this is the future for Marsden and Richardson’s sound then the future looks and sounds totally royally awesomesaurous.