Canadian duo Madison Violet are no strangers to these shores and in advance of yet another foray into the UK including two Glasgow appearances they’ve released this live album which captures their show with a fine degree of accuracy. While their last two studio albums have been relatively polished affairs with their writing and vocal harmonies well to the fore here they stand naked (so to speak) armed only with those voices and their multi instrumental efforts assisted only by Adrian Lawryshyn’s double bass. Recorded at the Kulturkirche in Cologne towards the end of 2011 it features for the most part songs from their back catalogue with a few less familiar offerings including a version of a Kurt Cobain song, All Apologies and is available in two formats, a filmed version on DVD or bog standard audio on CD. Our review copy didn’t include the DVD but some Googling reveals that the DVD includes spoken intros to several songs which aren’t included on the CD which is a pity, a small quibble but somewhat annoying.
Apart from that they are in top form here while the audience deserve a mention providing as they do mass harmonies on Small Of My Heart (perhaps prompted beforehand) while they provide the sounds of many hands clapping on some of the numbers, a feature that does detract on a song such as Come As You Are. The duo (Lisa MacIsaac and Brenley MacEachern) are both in fine voice, individually and in harmony while the sound is bright without much evidence of studio polish post taping. With 17 songs packed into a little over an hour it’s a good approximation of a live show as they inject a degree of passion into songs such as The Ransom, Fallen By The Wayside and Best Part of Your Love while Prayed and The Woodshop are given reverential hushed treatments that chill the spine. Overall a fine souvenir if you’ve seen them live or a fine introduction if you are about to.