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Gig review: Unloved

Lacking mystery: Unloved’s Jade Vincent tried out new songs PICTURE: STEVE PHILLIPS



Hoxton Hall, London ★★★✩✩

ANYONE who fell for Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s dark and wittily twisted Killing Eve series will have enjoyed the supporting role played by its soundtrack. Much of the music was by Unloved, a project hatched by moody American singer Jade Vincent, producer/composer Keefus Ciancia and Belfast’s David Holmes, the DJ, producer and composer whose CV includes scoring Steven Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight and the Ocean’s films.

On their 2016 debut, the trio cooked up a stew of film noir soundtracks, 1960s girl groups, psychedelic ragas and French pop on a slow simmer, to entertainingly ambiguous effect. Follow-up Heartbreak is out in February. This intimate show served as a public memory jog and gave them a chance to test out the odd new song.

It’s often difficult to translate a studio project to a live show and so it was with Unloved, who played as a keys-reliant band using some pre-records and three very young backing singers. Holmes was in the house but not onstage. The set seemed under-rehearsed, Vincent nervous and hesitant, never fully summoning the spectral intensity of her voice, while the sound, with its eerie keyboard eddies and wailing electronic detail was insubstantial for half of the set. ‘Turn it up!’ someone yelled in frustration.

When the band finally relaxed, their character surfaced via dashes of nicely soured lounge jazz, a brief, chaotic sound collage and, in new song Love, a welcome rockabilly swing with brass blasts.

But if cinematic allure is your style, you have to be able to magic it up in real life, too, and Unloved struggled to manifest mystery, drama and romance. Maybe they needed Villanelle to kick their ass.