Classic Rock Presents Prog Magazine
Live Review Peel by Richard Thompson
There’s a genuine buzz around IOEarth at the moment and it’s easy to see why this Birmingham-based band, led by guitarist Dave Cureton and keyboardist Adam Gough, are gaining such high praise. Tonight’s set is dazzling, cultivating a wonderful sound that evokes images of deep oceans and high skies. To say that IOEarth have a unique and expansive sound is an understatement.
Their eclectic sound channels itself through the electrifying delivery of Cureton; his ear-piercing clarity and quality blends the smoulder of Vai and silk of Hackett. In a parallel universe, he would probably be someone like Paul Gilbert throwing big-rock shapes. The fret-work on Light And Shade and The Creation is both breathless and breathtaking respectively.
And as the stage light bends and shimmers off Cureton’s guitar during the beautifully crafted and uplifting Storyteller, it indeed mirrors his dexterity as a guitarist. One mustn’t forget though the rhythm section and stalwart drumming of Cureton’s brother, Richard, or the power of bassist Marc Williams who taper the sound together, particularly on the likes of Sun Is Going Down. Although, it can probably be said, the emphasis is on atmosphere and instrumental during a fair portion of the set, vocalist Claire Malin gracefully enters the stage on cue to deliver a strong vocal when required.
Her presence is as hypnotic as the sound being extracted from Cureton’s guitar itself. With long blonde hair, flowing dress and sparkly headband she reminds us of a goddess and throws a silence over the crowd when on stage. Even when she departs, she seems to float. As well as Malin, Luke Shingler steps up to coat the sound sporadically, with flute and saxophone. The piano and saxophone marriage of Smoky Wood is particularly effective with a jazzy dispersion conjuring up images of a far-off land, of relaxation and atmosphere.
Before that, the balladry, misty-eyed emotion of Come With Me is simply outstanding as it sends a shiver down the spine with an ambient arousal. The meditative spirited Home is another highlight this evening. The engaging and entrancing Harmonix ends an exemplary set. And with the inclusion of two new songs (opener Finest Hour and The Brothers), following in the footsteps of their excellent debut, this is one band to watch out for in the coming weeks and months. IOEarth retains a perfect balance of sound and visual stimulant, of felicity and pleasure to the ear. High Voltage 2011 anyone?