Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms

Our rating:

It's usually the point where everything goes wrong. A group of friends get together to write songs, even though they all actually belong to separate bands....

IT’S USUALLY THE POINT WHERE EVERYTHING goes wrong. A group of friends get together to write songs, even though they all actually belong to separate bands. And so, what begins as one evening’s entertainment soon leads to a record company meeting, despite only ever being fit for private enjoyment.

But then Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker, The Crabs’ Sarah Dougher and The Lookers’ strangely named Sts together become even more gorgeous than the sum of their already respectable parts.

Largely based on stripped-down folk, their music dissolves seamlessly into brash soul or clattering rock, pared-down again almost before the switch is noticed. Vocals teeter between sweet and grating – one minute Juliana Hatfield, the next Dusty Springfield – as Corin and Sarah harmonise like choirgirls in ‘Winter Storm ’98’, dodge crashing cymbals in ‘June-n-July’ and turn ‘Night Vandals’ into a creepy piece of black humour. It retains the rough, minimalist principle of an unplanned get-together, but Cadallaca’s talent creates an icily haunting beauty.

Let’s hope it’s far more than a side project.