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July Skies in Concert (Cafe Oto, London, June 4, 2016)

July Skies (Band)
July Skies on the beach

Over the years, Antony Harding has released several albums’ worth of dappled, pastoral dreampop; his music, which draws ready comparisons to Slowdive and The Durutti Column, is breathy, airy, and shimmery, and positively suffused with nostalgia-inducing atmospherics. (For what it’s worth, Harding lists ​“lost youth,” ​“overgrown ancient ruins that still stand,” and ​“the sound of children playing faraway” as influences, to name a few.)

One might wonder how this sort of music, when its potency relies so much on being ephemeral and intangible, might fare in a live setting. Pretty well as it turns out, as evidenced by these recordings of a recent performance at London’s Café Oto. The performances span July Skies’ discography, and Harding — along with Epic45’s Ben Holton and Rob Glover — crafts a truly dreamy wall of sound. The graceful transition from ​“Girl on the Hill” to an extended version of ​“Waiting to Land” is especially nice.

Jun 21, 2016