Music review: The Waeve, St Luke's, Glasgow

Mixing Rose Elinor Dougall’s rich, yearning vocals and Graham Coxon’s heroic guitar wrangling, this was a mercurial yet meaty set, writes Fiona Shepherd

The Waeve, St Luke's, Glasgow ****

Of all the lockdown side projects of the rich/famous/talented/bored, The Waeve is among the most unexpected and intriguing – a new band fronted by Rose Elinor Dougall, formerly of sparkly indie poppers The Pipettes, and Blur guitarist extraordinaire Graham Coxon, which sounds nothing like any of their previous incarnations.

The pair bonded over a shared love of the darker corners of folk music and wasted no time evoking that world with Coxon’s trilling guitar picking, some violin drone and Dougall's alto incantations on opening number All Along, building to a pagan prog rock climax. Over and Over carved a lighter, wistful path with piano, saxophone and yearning harmonies, but again built dramatically to a fuller conclusion. "Beautiful" came a spontaneous review from the crowd.

Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall of The Waeve PIC: Steve GullickGraham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall of The Waeve PIC: Steve Gullick
Graham Coxon and Rose Elinor Dougall of The Waeve PIC: Steve Gullick
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Coxon's weedy voice was not quite the right fit for their proggier maelstroms but absolutely right in tandem with Dougall’s rich, yearning emoting on the rueful Undine, powered by wiggy synth arpeggios and The Waeve’s USP – Coxon returning to his first instrument, the saxophone, to unleash some Man Who Sold the World vibes.

Coxon still managed to appear understated when letting the fur fly with some heroic guitar wrangling on "another sentimental number" You’re All I Want To Know. "Enough of all that schmaltz," declared Dougall as her co-conspirator unleashed the high-pitched sax squawk of Kill Me Again, followed by the terse and punky Someone Up There and the Krautrock-influenced Can I Call You which closed their mercurial yet meaty set on an energetic high.

As if to demonstrate that Dougall, Coxon and their three bandmates could convincingly turn their hand to almost anything, they encored with the gentle pastoral of self-styled "deep cut" Old Fashioned Morning and punk boogie of Something Pretty. Here’s to fresh Waeves of material from this freewheeling pair.

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