It's not just that [B]It's Jo And Danny[/B] defy categories, but rather that their songs flirt with a naivety, a very un-'90s innocence, which suggests those categories were never in place to be

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London SW5 Troubadour

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London SW5 Troubadour

We’re down in London’s bowels, out of range of any fashion radar, lost in a timeless reverie. As with [a]Belle & Sebastian[/a] or The Beta Band, certain concerns like what’s cool, what’s now, what are we being told to listen to… well, they go out the window when Jo and Danny begin to play.

This is folk, but there’s a DJ onstage too. It’s trip-hop, with French horns. It’s pop, but frontwoman Jo Bartlett breathes words like she’s singing spirituals. It’s not just that It’s Jo And Danny defy categories, but rather that their songs flirt with a naivety, a very un-’90s innocence, which suggests those categories were never in place to begin with.

Thus ‘Pilgrim’s Prayer’, with its scuffed beats and mantra-like melody, could be Beck circa ‘Mutations’, but at the same time it’s too simple and unaffected to be compared to such a savvy midnite vulture. Similarly, ‘Love Expression’ taps into the same gospel-folk atmosphere Blur attempted to conjure on ‘Tender’, but pulls it off with far more shambolic soul.

Looser than on their glimmering debut ‘Lank Haired Girl To Bearded Boy’, the band nonetheless seem startlingly at home with material they are playing live for the first time. It bodes well: for these troubadours, this gig marks the beginning of a wonderfully meandering journey that will end with them lodged in your hearts.