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Live Review: Erin Rae & The Meanwhiles @ Leith Depot, Edinburgh (28/06/2017)


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Erin Rae and The Meanwhiles brought baskets of traditional country folk to Edinburgh's intimate Leith Depot. 

The lullaby style singer/songwriter donned a catwalk worthy red power suit with white piping which singled her out as the frontwoman immediately. Backing her, Dom Billett on a multitude of instruments including drums and bass, and Jerry Bernhardt on the lead guitar and vocal harmonies. 

The night began with beautiful renditions of both ‘Light Pt. 1’ and ‘Minolta’ separated only by enthusiastic applause and whooping. Both tracks are from Erin's latest album, Soon Enough, which was released last Summer. Rae evidently has a knack for lyricism as all of the songs on that album, bar one, were written solely by her.   

‘Can’t Cut Loose’ is a wholesome dream pop track, decorated with a mystical guitar.  Rae’s velvety voice soared over the top of the rendition, singing “Wanna be free like we once were” enveloping all of us in the crowd in a shimmery, daydream atmosphere.

Rae interrupted the set to throw in a little chatty rapport with the audience which went down a treat. Especially as a few audience members were definitely locals and also fans of the local curry house that Rae raved about being so tasty and filling. The comment that after such a massive meal they “may play everything 10% slower” received plenty of knowing, endeared laughter.

After a few quick jokes, ‘Futile Attempts’ launched us back into the mystical world of Rae’s dreamlike voice with the addition of charming guitar plucking and perfectly harmonized backing vocals.

A lot of Rae’s songs do have a specific theme or message. The lyrics to ‘Old Games’ describe the feeling of doing the same thing over and over again “Like a carnival…round and round and round”. The harmonization between Rae and Bernhardt created such a stillness in the room, it was a truly sublime performance. 

The title-track of the album Soon Enough had more of a matured sound on the night. It had evidently been played a lot but that only made it one of the tightest performances of the set. Rae caught the top note of the harmonies with a mellifluous tone accompanied by an enthusiastic but still chilled out guitar solo.

“This is our most upbeat song (…) it’s still pretty mellow” was the introduction to ‘Love like before’.  The piece did have a fun, groovy guitar line and more fervent drumming but as Rae said there was still an introverted and pensive feel to the music. It may have been beneficial to pick up the speed of this piece as the room was getting very cozy and almost too dreamlike at that point but it was still a charming performance. 

Luckily the crowd clapped loudly and long enough for them to finish with one of their latest singles ‘Like The First Time’ which has suddenly moved past my preferred songs from the last album to become a irrevocable new favorite, all down to that spectacularly uplifting performance on that night. 

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