By toning down the excessive kookiness Beth Jeans Houghton is emerging as one to keep a firm eye on. Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman battles the paps for slice of the action.
Geordie folk singer Beth Jeans Houghton has been a name on every hipster’s lips for three years now.
Some brilliant EPs, a voice to show up Florence as the fog horn she is and a propensity to show some flesh certainly made her stand out from the usual shrinking violets that pervade the nu-folk scene.
But for the last 12 months all has gone a bit quiet on the Jeans front. Rumours of a succession of problems with the recording of her debut album seemed to be proved with the repeated delay of its release date.
Thankfully as the succession of paps down the front of this gig suggest, there is a buzz again about BJH which can only partly be explained by her rumoured relationship with Red Hot Chilli Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis.
It would be shame if redtop gossip makes Houghton a star rather than her music because she is undoubtedly a hugely original talent.
What her time away has given her is a new found confidence and the chance to add all kinds of new layers to her already fascinating sound.
Kate Bush is a lazy and obvious comparison but a valid one when considering both the spooky otherworldliness of a song like Dodecahedron (‘Last night I dreamed of dodecahedrons / My eyes were bleeding with crimson sight‘) and Houghton’s own propensity to be sexy, childlike and frightening all in the space of a few minutes.
Houghton has also slimmed down the excess of kook which threatened to overshadow her music. Yes, her all male band are still partial to make up and masks but Beth herself now seems to have moved away from the ‘look at me’ posturing of her early career.
As a result the brilliance of tunes like the toy town knees up of I Will Return, I Promise and the fiddle led pop of Honeycomb stand on their own cloven hooves.
Truly pushing the boundaries of folk music, Beth Jeans Hougton could and should be a star in the making.
Pictures courtesy of David Munn.