Sunday, February 14, 2010

Girl in a Thunderbolt

Girl in a Thunderbolt at Witches Hat Club, London; photo by Val PhoenixWitches Hat Club
12 February

As a hotbed of creativity and musical inspiration, Norwich has, up until recently, escaped my attention. But, thanks to Grrrl Sounds, I now know how much this humble East Anglia burg has to offer in the way of bands.

One such exemplar is Girl in a Thunderbolt (Maria to her friends), who appeared on a bill of otherwise folky bearded types on Friday night, a bit of an odd pairing, but she is used to it, declaring she has become a singer-songwriter almost by default. A devotee of DIY, old things and blogging, she has been playing in bands since 2005 and has been solo the last couple of years, recording at home and playing gigs around the UK and Europe.

In her short seven-song set one heard a hint of weariness, but her voice grew stronger as she progressed, sampled acoustic guitar and tambourine accompanying her distinctive vocals, the odd break adding piquancy. "Irate", delivered with some slap guitar and heavy breathing, was a highlight. On "Dopamine" she switched to her vintage Omnichord for a cautionary tale of sleeping with friends.

Before the gig, we conversed briefly and she explained in her soft-spoken manner that she has an album recorded in Norway, but isn't sure of its time or manner of release. The four songs on her EP, Songs for Modern Lovers, give a flavour of her vast musical influences and the capabilities of her home studio. I am particularly partial to "Old Bones" and "Volatile". Girl in a Thunderbolt is back in London on 18 February.

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