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Picture Parlour at The Welly Review

Preceding the flashy displays and gothic elements which conjure up the very finest of sets, the up-and-comers of colourful 1970s aesthetic tower over the crowd. Picture Parlour has worked the circuit, building up the live audience before they dropped their tracks into the ocean. Norwegian Wood reared its head some time ago, and from then, it has been all quiet from the four-piece. Teeing up a few more songs and surely thinking an album is not too far down the line, Picture Parlour are in prime place opening for The Last Dinner Party and displaying their cool and collected sound. It is a fair shout of difference from their sole track of the moment, but that is what brings out the best in this opening act.  

Early flickers of their preparation for headline tours are present in this set at The Welly. Norwegian Wood proves to be the exceptional, guitar-heavy closer Picture Parlour were seeking out. They precede it with plenty of slick guitar work and an on-stage presence not quite felt in their first release. Growing this over time, it is the fire of a live performance which brings out the best in Picture Parlour. The four-piece has hit the exact right atmosphere for what an opener should be. Not just a crowd warmer, the stuffy days of expecting nothing but a bit of noise from the opening act are thankfully long behind us. Instead, Picture Parlour are on hand to create a powerful, overwhelming expectation.  

Not just for The Last Dinner Party, whose mainstay performance is divine, but to courageously drum up interest in their own work. Picture Parlour switch from acceptable indie rock to essential pieces of future playlist material. Keep an ear out for Neptune 66 and Sawmill Sink Hole. All of them are named like a Morrissey number, but unlike the former Smiths frontman, there is depth to them. Burst the London bubble and sit patiently, waiting and waiting for Judgement Day to release. Picture Parlour has a cool and collected look to them on stage, transferring it well to their strong riffs and hidden gems. Early days for the band indeed, but what an extraordinary rise they have before them. It is clear to hear it, right there in the back as you get a full view of their guitar work. Indie music may move itself away from the guitar genre, but the likes of Sam Fender and Picture Parlour are bringing it back in wild new ways.  

Ushering in their sound and forever doomed to be autocorrected to “Picture Parkour” in the group chat, Picture Parlour bring a stage presence, style and collective, artistic unity which is so clearly benefitted in a live atmosphere. Strong enough to dispel the tepid waters of their debut single, powerful enough to hook a listener onto whatever comes next. It takes just a half hour to do a complete 180, and that is, of course, the beauty of live music. Picture Parlour has a classy uniformity and skill to their stage presence, something which benefits the smart wordplay teased there on stage. Norwegian Wood packs a punch when heard echoing through the walls of a place which, just a few days later, will be blaring out All Time Low and their ilk. Picture Parlour supplies ounces of confidence with their live performances, something which surely translates to future releases.  

Ewan Gleadow
Ewan Gleadow
Editor in Chief at Cult Following | News and culture journalist at Clapper, Daily Star, NewcastleWorld, Daily Mirror | Podcast host of (Don't) Listen to This | Disaster magnet

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