Heartbeat Music Collective

Kevin Murphy

featuring Olivia Hand & Julian Swinnerton

@ Bar Open 14/12/2014

Complete with 70's style T.V., dinosaur toys, sewing machine and couches this night more than any other made Bar Open a public lounge room. This lounge, however, was inhabited by a very talented cellist, Julian Swinnerton, I've looked in my lounge many times and unfortunately never stumbled upon one of those. He set the evenings mood with an arrangement of predominantly classical motifs ranging from the sweet and beautiful to the fast and dramatic (a personal favourite in Toccata in D minor). The performance was pure, swelling, emotional. It was the kind of opening to an act that makes you want to drop everything and devote your life to cello.

Kevin Murphy and his band mates Olivia Hand (piano/backing vocals) and Julian Swinnerton (Cello), have an easy-going Glen Hansard/Once style; seemingly simple with parts of devious trickery. Harmonies ebbed and flowed around static rhythm lines, creating a watery and ethereal sound-scape.

The only downfall of the evening was the quality of the sound. Kevin with his light, pure tenor voice could benefit from closer micing to really catch his textures and variations. The piano melodies were simple and effective but were too mid-heavy and muffly to be distinct. The cello was enticing, solid and haunting in turns, but was unnaturally boomy. Each musician was accomplished and had something interesting to add to the equation, but you had to really concentrate to hear it all through muddy, stifling mids and feedback in just about every song. There was no place for the sound to stretch out, to breathe and meander around the room looking for places to penetrate your consciousness.

Though I feel that they were robbed of the opportunity to really shine, Kevin Murphy and Special Guests have a really compelling ethereal sound that's perfect for that Sunday evening contemplation of your own existence.

Awesome: Cello lines that read my mind.

Ordinary: Muffly mid frequencies and feedback.

Tasty: Bulmers Apple Cider - because hot and because summer.