Simon Aldred, who records under the nom de plume Cherry Ghost, used to live about three streets away from the Brudenell Social Club. “Is there a blue plaque there?” he asks.
His tongue may be planted firmly in cheek but given the highly partisan audience there’s likely to be broad support for such a proposition. The depth of their devotion is surprising given the modest chart success of the touring three-piece, whose brand of Americana is a long way from Aldred’s hometown of Bolton.
It’s a sound that has sweeping parallels with Richard Hawley on opening track ‘Drinking For Two’ and with the reflectively melancholic mood of a less anthemic Elbow on ‘Clear Skies Ever Closer’.
This traditional song-craft has served him well as a songwriter for hire for Kwabs and Sam Smith. Their style of soul has yet to infiltrate his full-time band’s compositions but as the set progresses there are slight variations on the basic template.
‘My God Betrays’, for instance, has inflections of hymnal country while ‘All I Want’ - originally recorded by Aldred’s electronic side project Out Cold – nods towards northern soul. New track ‘Lately I’ve Been’, meanwhile, lives up to its description of being in the style of Burt Bacharach by adding dollops of The Divine Comedy into its pop mix.
It’s a pop sensibility that they would do well to explore on other tracks because, while impossible to dislike, they lack the killer hooks that have seen their peers enter the mainstream while Cherry Ghost remain one of the country’s biggest Radio 2-friendly cult bands.
Gig date: June 21