Is the word ‘throwback’ still considered a pejorative term? Maybe it is. Maybe it never was, but it was certainly pregnant with derivative subtleties at one point. Either way, Morrissey and Marshall, the Dublin born but London based troubadours are 100% solid gold throwback. But they do it with such style, easy conviction and, most importantly, with such genuine talent that they are constantly forward looking regardless of whence their musical form comes.
Tonight is a homecoming of sorts, tellingly so thanks to the large swathes of family dotted around the Workman’s Club. This can only be family because no sooner have the band started that the chit-chat between audience and performers resembles the good-natured dialog you might expect at a Christmas dinner. And more so because they’ll tell anybody who looks at them that they’re “related to the lads”. It’s fair to say that the sense of pride in what Morrissey and Marshall have achieved with their sound is as enveloping and universally ambrosial as the sound itself. All of this adds to the Gaslight-tinged aesthetic that can only come from two prodigiously talented folk singers who look, sound and play as if they have just passed a basket around the famous, smoke-filled coffee house. That’s what Morrissey and Marshall do, they play harmonious folk which at times sounds so breathtakingly authentic that they can instantly dissolve surroundings and re-imagine them using little more than the sound of their voices.
Taking the majority of their set from their debut album, And So It Began, it’s two songs in before they are joined by their backing band. Starting with acoustic and electric guitar to guide them the lads expose their voices in a room utterly devoid of intrusive noises. And the effect is chilling, rarely if ever have harmonies been so finely tuned since the days of Simon & Garfunkel. Darren Morrissey and Greg Marshall, however, are infinitely more amenable on stage and seem to genuinely enjoy what they’re doing. Recent single ‘Pack Up Lady’ raises the biggest cheer of the night, naturally, but for a performance so full of highlights it’s unfair to pick and choose. It would be equally as unfair not to give a mention to Eoin Glackin who’s heavy cold played no discernible part in his charming and effervescent support slot.