The energetic and tuneful Ben Montague took over Nell’s in Kensington for a show this week but opening the proceedings we enjoyed a set of mostly original songs by Kitty Montague whose dark good looks, clear singing and cool piano playing impressed us and the rest of the listening audience.
This new EP has four of her numbers and is well worth finding or buying at a live performance. One and only drawback with her live show is a common enough trait of young female singers in the legacy of Amy Winehouse, manifesting itself in a tendency to deliver some phrases in that wearisome hiccup that Winehouse and her adorers mistook for soulfulness.
It is in evidence here at times but can surely be eliminated – the note Montague held at the end of her Police version was breathtaking and unwavering. But from here on it’s all positives, Kitty already has her own somewhat saturnine songwriting style and an utterly charming unaffected stage presence. She comes across as a young talented songwriter rather than a lass who just craves the spotlight AND as an accomplished singer. Her accompanying acoustic guitar player drew on many moods and techniques to frame her works.
On to the songs – Empty Words is a sad and slow-paced beratement of an ex that has already had two spells of sticking in my head on repeat. The delivery is steady and a touch Winehouse croaky but still rather affecting. What a fool you have been, pal! Or miss. (You can’t assume anything these days)
Other Woman picks up the pace slightly and is another song of regret with a lovely melody and flowing piano chordal pattern. Subdued post-Spector drumming gives some weight, becoming busier on the build. Cries out for a string quartet counterpoint when the budget allows… Wide Eyes is gentle and has an air of Kate Bush or the great Judie Tzuke about it. The piano is perfect and the voice soars above the number. Kitty sounds forlorn, you just want to give her a hug. Maybe the best cut here and certainly the strongest vocal I would say.
Pushed You Away has a most descriptive narrative and again things aren’t working out the way Montague really wished for. The rippling piano passages are so very fitting for the arrangement, mixed with emphatic block chords. This girl has a great grip on melody, albeit with bittersweet flavour and downbeat ambience It always amazes me how many awful romantic liaisons these young females seem to have had… bad for the soul at the time but great for song inspiration, I guess!
Though Taylor Swift seems to take it a ton too far, who would go near her knowing they will be villified in a Top Ten hit shortly after ejection or worse still their own escape with even bitterer lyrics? Well done, Kitty – four sad songs, beautifully delivered and not overwrought.
(Thanks to Glenn Sargeant, Ben for a fine show, no thanks to the mouthy section of the audience who would not stop yapping. Learn some respect)