By Brian Tucker
(originally published in Performer magazine)
January 7, 2010 – The Soapbox – Wilmington, N.C.
Brandi Price wore a clasp of silver bells around the boot of her right foot, adding celestial sounds and subtle tension to The Diamond Center’s set on a snow-projected Thursday night. For much of the show Price’s face was masked behind shoulder length, ink black hair, whether singing or stepping back to play guitar. When she turned to sing a single eye pierced the crowd with her voice accomplishing much of the same.
Price’s crystallized, ethereal vocals were hauntingly sweet. And crushing. They were contrasted by fellow singer and guitarist Kyle Harris on “Ohio” in which he sang in near guttural fashion – “Baby says, the way to my heart is right through the front of my head.” Harris’s delivery was thunderous, coupled with Price’s background vocals and harsh drumming that felt like an oncoming invasion.
They opened the set with “WTT” and continued through much of their excellent album My Only Companion with songs like the dreamy “Bombay Beach” and western tinged, reflective “Forget My Name.” Songs were beautifully stark, ominous and angelic as though piped in from somewhere long ago and forgotten. The band successfully played live a hearty rendition of the album, bringing to life the ragged and atmospheric aspects of what was originally recorded in a Texas house.
They also boasted two stand-up drummers that, in the background, worked up quite a frenzy. For a set that was relatively tribal, it would have been more portentous if not for kind and casual conversation from Harris and Price.
For the set’s closer Price handed out small instruments to people and invited them onstage to join in performing “The Deer Pistol.” It was like a hymnal with war paint, an emotional build-up reaching a high point only to begin again with Harris’ jangly repeated guitar riff. It was a fitting ending to a hypnotic set where haze met melody head on.