Torn Sail live and emotional

 Alan Dearling shares a lively, creative musical performance

Torn Sail is the band fronted by Huw Costin. He is a wordsmith, singer, but also paints with a palette of multi-layered sounds, having worked with the likes of Brian Eno and Mark Lanegan. His singing has been compared with Ian Brown. He also somewhat resembles a G.I., looking a bit like Richard Gere!

Along with a highly appreciative audience, I really enjoyed the C,S,N &Y close harmonies from Huw and his colleagues in Torn Sail. I hate labels, but it’s distinctive Indie psychedelic-rock, with an early ‘70s style. It’s definitely a fully engaged band show, not a group of musicians backing a solo singer/songwriter. There are definite hints of John Martyn cascades of harmonic sounds, loops and delays. Torn Sail is fronted by dual guitars, heavy bass, subtle and varied drumming and synth-keyboard atmospherics. Whist listening and watching I came up with the phrase: ‘Musical mesmerisations’. A veritable tsunami of soundscapes.

Huw’s lyrics tell of places and people. Sometimes a quiet melancholia perhaps, but musically powerful and enveloping. Myriad tonalities – even tinges of Hawaiian music. I’m a bit uncertain of the exact track titles, but I think that some of the standout moments included, ‘Coastal’, ‘Mud People’ and ‘Nutshell’.  Folk from the gig said to me afterwards things like, “Totally memorable” and “Absolute blast!”

Torn Sail (Huw Costin): 2020 Lockdown show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PYryFxMcJc

‘Nutshell’ live at the Bodega, Nottingham. Gentle and beguiling:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJYeDJF-1m0

These are tracks selected from the multitrack desk recordings at two intimate Torn Sail concerts in 2022 – Peggy’s Skylight in Nottingham and The Dorothy Pax in Sheffield.

I hope that this is current band line-up: Huw Costin, Henry Claude, John Thompson, Jim Baron, Jeff Davenport.

From Soundcloud website:

“Inspired by Buckley, Cash, Drake, Cope and Kilmister, Costin writes songs for the mystified and heartbroken…

Huw Costin is a British singer-songwriter known for his emotional vocal style, melancholic lyrics, and a penchant for writing nifty pop songs when the mood takes him. He’s worked with both Brian Eno and Mark Lanegan, but mostly, his musical journey has been a ramble around the more obscure reaches of the indie world. Known for his output with leftfield disco artists Smith & Mudd as well as rock bands Manatee, The Kull, and Earth The Californian Love Dream, Costin is currently writing and performing with his band Torn Sail.

As influenced by the folk, country, and rock of the 60s and 70s as the Nottingham ambient scene of the early nineties, Costin has been compared to the likes of Big Star, Ian Brown, Elbow, and Jeff Buckley.

His debut solo album – Regrets – found its way into the NME Yearbook as a top 10 album despite being unfinished and unreleased.

Praise for Regrets: “It’s like the third Big Star album mixed with the Stone Roses… It’ll make you cry.” NME (Yearbook Top 10)”

Support for Torn Sail came from Manchester’s Toria Wooff. Reflective, personal songs. Emotional and intense delivery. The material is quite powerful and Toria looks set to build up a reputation on the singer-songwriter circuit. Her PR tells us that she is, “a painter, poet, songwriter and storyteller, Toria Wooff stands in the crossfires of gothic literature and pained Americana.”

Toria Wooff is certainly in thrall to the late 1960s/early ‘70s American/Canadian folk-rock artists. I heard definite Leonard Cohen influences in her guitar-picking style. Here’s her Live Show-Stream:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=buQae61Ls6M

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