Gig Review – Hvmmingbyrd live at The Workman’s Club

Gigonometry has become probably the finest new music night in Dublin. The consistent quality of the bands is unmatched and for eight euro on a Thursday night, you won’t find better value in town. We went along to catch one of Ireland’s rising stars, Hvmmingbyrd, in the intimate surrounds of The Workman’s Club. Originally formed as a quintet in 2013, they released a well-received album but broke up soon after. Founding member Deborah Byrne refused to let the dream die and teamed up with Suzette Das to resurrect Hvmmingbyrd.

The pair have released two singles this year ‘Out Of My Head’ and the brilliant ‘If Love Was Enough’ with its accompanying video directed by Crooked Gentlemen.

On the Workman’s stage, the duo are accompanied by a loopstation. They open with a sparse mashup of ‘With Or Without You’, ‘Used’ and ‘Cherry Wine’. Their sound is hypnotic. The effortless control of their voices as they alternate the high and low sections of their interweaving vocals blocks out all other concerns. It’s like they are singing to you, and you alone.

Hvmmingbyrd happily improvise the intro to ‘Box You Up’ over some wicked looped bass. They aren’t happy with the way they start new song ‘Legacy’ so they start over. After the song, they announce that they have a new EP coming, with a launch in The Grand Social next month. They’ll have a full band backing them for that but for tonight the backing of electronic loops and vocal samples promote a smooth chill out vibe like early Beth Orton stuff.

Recent single ‘Out Of My Head’ is up next and Hvmmingbyrd are comfortably chatting to the audience between tracks, introducing each song and their themes and emotions. Another mash-up follows. This time, it’s Madonna’s ‘Ray Of Light’ and  Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’. ‘Teardrop’ is perfectly suited to their delivery and they combine it beautifully with Madge’s last great song, before finishing with current single ‘If Love Was Enough’.

Hvmmingbyrd have spoken about the difficulty they have in classifying their music. They combine the vocal interplay of traditional and modern folk, minimalist electronica, and the intensity and honesty of singer/songwriters. It is individual, innovative, and stunning.