Music Reviews         
When the Horn Blows
(2019-present)

When the Horn Blows is a music website that delivers journalism with a focus on live gig reviews, interviews and album and single reviews. 

Role:
I have currently written three pieces for their online platform - two live reviews and one album review.

LIVE REVIEW: TAMINO - SCALA, LONDON 04/12/2019


December 8, 2019




Words by Lizzie Connor
Photography by Hattie Stewart-Darling


On the When the Horn Blows website

Majestic. Melancholic. Atmospheric. Tamino, the Belgium-Egyptian artist, sold out the famous Scala venue in London’s King Cross. An impressive feat for a recent newcomer who has also supported Lana Del Ray and collaborated with Radiohead’s Colin Greenwood on his single ‘Indigo Night’. Merging Arabic and Western sounds, Tamino orchestrated a beautiful soundscape of mesmerising falsetto and grungy guitar interlaced with delicate and sometimes synthy piano.

Joined on stage by a pianist, bassist (Colin Greenwood) and drummer, Tamino also performed multiple songs solo - just his voice and his guitar. He came on stage and instantly began his set - no chit-chat or grand entrance. Dressed stylishly (as usual) but again quite understated and simple with his signature one hoop earring. His composure was generally serious, as it is when someone is focused on their craft, but he broke into a smile when turning to face the rest of the band.

Much like his stripped back performance, the set design was minimal. Red, orange and blue lights were used throughout the set to create a misty, moody atmosphere - conjuring up imagery of the colour-scapes in his music videos for ‘Indigo Night’ and ‘Sun May Shine’.

Compared to some gigs where people dance, talk and constantly head to the bar, this crowd were held captivated by Tamino’s ethereal sound. Throughout the room arty types were dotted around with lots of Tamino-esque hairstyles and chic jackets.

Tamino’s powerful vocals had the crowd transfixed from the first note. His delicate falsetto in ‘Habibi’ (‘my love’ or ‘sweetheart’ in Arabic) received an applause from the audience which broke the silence around the venue. The harmonies and piano in ‘Indigo Night’ were beautiful.

Much of the set was performed similarly to that on the album so I was caught off guard when Tamino and the band went off piste in ‘So It Goes’ and left space for instrumental experimentation. For his second to last song he covered Mac DeMarco’s ‘My Kind of Woman’ which went down well with the audience.

Tamino has been compared to Jeff Buckley with his powerful voice and ambient guitar. But it is clear that he draws on a wide range of influences - Thom Yorke, James Blake and Nick Drake are some other artists who share Tamino’s sensibility and carefully placed melodies.

Signed to the UK indie label Communion, Tamino continues his tour across Europe and America but unlike tonight he will be performing solo. Intensity and simplicity encapsulated Tamino’s performance on this wintry December evening and he will no doubt bring that same moody emotion to future shows.




ALBUM REVIEW: ALEXANDRA SAVIOR - 'THE ARCHER'


January 9, 2020



Words by Lizzie Connor

On the When the Horn Blows website



‘The Archer’ is Alexandra Savior’s second LP - a stylistic, gritty ten track tale drenched in heartbreak and underpinned by a newfound independence.

This Portland-born singer-songwriter has previously worked with Alex Turner and The Last Shadow Puppets (whom she also supported on their tour in America). With ‘The Archer’, Savior says, “I felt like I needed to establish my own voice and show my independence again”.

‘The Archer’ opens with ‘Soft Currents’ - a romantic piano led track paired with Savior’s quintessentially delicate, whirly vocals. ‘Saving Grace’ takes a rockier turn with a plucky guitar riff and heavy bass line opening the song and Savior’s vocals sounding ever more eerie. ‘Crying All The Time’ was the first single written and released after her 2017 debut album, Belladonna of Sadness, which Savior co-wrote with Alex Turner. Written on New Year’s Eve, this brooding ballad is full of heartbreak and has a vintage noir feel. Lyrics such as ‘I know I’ll be gone soon/ But just for him, I will prevail’ and ‘He doesn’t like it when I cry/ (cry, cry, cry)/ And now he’s gone, so I’m crying all the time’ show Savior’s playful melancholic lyricism.

The piano and ghostly backing vocals in ‘Howl’ make you feel like you are in a haunted house at a fairground. Savior sings, ‘Handsome dictator of my crimes/ I can’t tell if they’re yours/ I can’t tell if they’re mine’, unravelling her manipulative relationship.

“I tried to project some sort of strength; I wrote during a time when I was a young woman growing into my identity and developing my confidence, and I hope that comes through”.

The pre-singles (‘Saving Grace’, ‘Crying All The Time’, ‘Howl’, ‘The Archer’) are stand out songs on the album but the horns in ‘Send Her Back’ and ‘But You’ are a welcome addition to the album’s sound. The album concludes with the title track ‘The Archer’, ending with the lyrics ‘I licked the blood from your lips’. This harks back to the ‘sweet lips like pink lemonade’ line, that Savior referred to in ‘Can’t Help Myself’, indicting the eventual turn in her relationship.

Savior stays true to her retro and dreamy sound first crafted in ‘Belladonna of Sadness’ but shows more creative independence in ‘The Archer’. The array of sounds used to create songs full of pensive sadness, along with the aesthetic of the pre-single music videos and artwork covers, all distinctively point to the artistry of Alexandra Savior.



LIVE REVIEW: RAYOWA - COLOURS HOXTON, LONDON
14/02/2020


January 9, 2020




Words by Lizzie Connor
Photography by Hattie Stewart-Darling


On the When the Horn Blows website



Hailing from Basildon in Essex, Rayowa are a newly formed band merging soul, disco, funk and pop sounds. In the run up to their sold out show at Colours Hoxton they released their second single ‘Chance’ - an uplifting track about seizing opportunities and banishing self-doubt.

Following on from their debut gig late last year at the gold-ceiling-adorned-disco-ball-covered venue of The Moth Club in Hackney, Rayowa delivered another dance-inducing performance this Valentine’s day.

Despite being only a three-piece band the stage was packed with eight people, including a backing singer, bassist, trumpeter, drummer and percussionist. The crowd buzzed with excitement as they launched into their set. The room was full of people who were sporting ‘Rayowa’ t-shirts and everyone was clearly ready to have a dance.

Rayowa’s sound is similar to that of Nile Rodgers and Change - disco beats with a sprinkle of guitar riffs. But far from being stuck in the 70s and 80s they have drawn on disco influences to create a contemporary sound which doesn’t disappoint. Rayowa’s sound would suit the ears of listeners of bands such as Jungle and Parcels with their falsetto vocals and rhythmic guitar groove.

I haven’t been to a gig where the atmosphere has felt so friendly and feel-good in a long time - both from the crowd and the band themselves. Their debut single ‘Better Man’ and new single release ‘Chance’ went down a treat with the crowd and the occasional instrumental breakdown was greeted with wild applause.

I’m really excited to hear more music from this Essex disco collective. Next time Rayowa are in town be sure to grab your flares and get ready to boogie.


© 2020 LIZZIE CONNOR