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EARTHPRAYER, Proud Gallery, Camden, London
28 November 2011

Earthprayer, photo by Bob Singleton

The last 12 months has seen a spate of new hopefuls unashamedly influenced by the classic sounds of the late sixties and early seventies such as Rival Sons, Vintage Trouble and St Jude. Earthprayer are cut from the same cloth, but this London show took place in unusual surroundings.

Art gallery by day, Proud is a surprisingly large space in the heart of the stables area of Camden Market, and two good sized rooms were both hosting a diverse roster of bands, with Earthprayer headlining the main room.

However in between DJs were playing dance music at a ridiculously loud volume, and it sometimes felt as if the bands were an unwanted interlude among the dancing. The sound was also ear splittingly loud and shrill for the bands, totally unsuited to a band like Earthprayer whose appeal rests on more soulful feel.

Earthprayer, photo by Bob Singleton

Earthprayer will inevitably invite St Jude comparisons, as they have a girl singer in Heidi Jo Hines, who is actually the daughter of ex Moody Blues and Wings man Denny Laine. Her petite frame conceals a strong set of lungs, although I am not sure the 60s Cher look of lank hair and headband was a flattering one, while her stagecraft looked a bit uncertain.

While her band were industrious and solid, they very much left the on stage focus to her, and nor was there much of a spark to their playing.

Earthprayer, photo by Bob Singleton

One problem was that the faster songs all sounded rather samey with no exceptional hooks to grab you, although 'Love and Feel' was the best.

When the pace dropped with a couple of slower bluesier numbers, 'Freedom' and 'Time for the Truth', the guitar work was just too basic to lift them above the humdrum.

It's early days yet for Earthprayer, but they need both more supportive surroundings than this and a more distinctive approach if they are to pick up momentum and stand out from the pack of other hopefuls.

Review by Andy Nathan

Photos by Bob Singleton

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