3:34pm Friday 3rd August 2012
By Ben Miller
Seeing Charlotte Church breezing cheerfully around the Green Door Store, it would have taken a hardened celeb spotter not to feel gladdened by a singer finally pursuing her creative desires after a strange few years.
Her tiny venue of choice, which she proffered genuine affection for having seen the floor salvaged from a mini-flood earlier in the day, can count few gigs as improbable as this among its joyful history of reliably off-kilter headliners.
Church’s rock chick reinvention features an indie band with frenetic drums (the sprightly Beautiful Wreck), occasional electro keys and backing vocals from her boyfriend Jonathan Powell.
Playing to a capacity crowd of 150, post-song gulps of honey helped the voice of an angel reach notes more attuned to Ave Maria than, say, Judge From Afar, a number written in response to a Daily Mail story underscored by predictably poisonous comments.
It began with Church launching into possibly the most ear-splitting loop of backing notes ever heard beneath Brighton Station, and several mid-set songs had finales so extravagantly melodramatic you half expected a curtain to fall at their climax.
At worst – when her tremulous, millimetre-perfect coos and shrills seemed completely out of keeping with the workaday riffs they left behind – her decision to pair stratospheric vocals with scuzzy instrumentation seemed incongruous.
Her gift is undoubtedly the sound of musicals and opera houses. But for once, this was a big-name comeback refreshingly keen to leave grandiosity at the door.
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