Pumajaw look to past and future for inspiration

John Wills and Pinkie Maclure. Picture: contributed

John Wills and Pinkie Maclure. Picture: contributed

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ANYONE who has encountered Perth-based duo Pumajaw in the past decade will appreciate that they have always had a noirish element.

Whether they are mining the gothic melodrama of a sea shanty or creating original spectral soundscapes, their music combines the alluring torch-song vocals of Pinkie Maclure with distorted guitar backdrops created by John Wills (of recently reformed psych rockers Loop).

But now they are making their noir allegiances official by producing an atmospheric audio-visual show for the Fringe. Song Noir features a setlist of songs, many of which have appeared in cult films from Night Of The Hunter to Kill Bill, with a emphasis on film noir. “It’s amazing how much music is in those films,” says Maclure, who researched the show via marathon viewing sessions.

“The song we’re opening with is from Kiss Me Deadly. Through that whole film, there is this glowing box and nobody knows what’s in it. Appropriately, the song is called I’d Rather Have The Blues Than What I’ve Got – what have you got? We don’t want to know! That’s the theme that runs through Song Noir. It’s about danger lurking round the corner or some hidden, dark, mysterious thing that you’re not quite sure about.”

In addition to the soundtrack, the duo have made on abstract films to use as a backdrop. “We want to have a fully rounded show with lots of ups and downs and mood changes and a few bangs here and there.” To that end, they have landed the ideal venue in Summerhall’s Red Lecture Theatre. “It’s so seedy,” says an excited Maclure. “It’s like walking into this slightly sinister old 70s cinema. It’s got these quite unpleasant teak veneer walls and red chairs and horrible little tables in front of them. It’s pretty grim really so it’s absolutely perfect for what we wanted to do.” The duo are recording the music from Song Noir and aim to have an album ready in January.

• Pumajaw are at Electric Dark in the Berkeley Suite, Glasgow, tomorrow. Song Noir plays at Summerhall, Edinburgh from 2-25 August

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