Polly Scattergood @ Shacklewell Arms 31st January 2013

Playing at Shoreditch’s The Shacklewell Arms was the one and only Polly Scattergood. Her name Scattergood is her family name. It means “here today, gone tomorrow” or “spendthrift waster”. It has been 4 years since since I last witnessed her perform songs from the début self titled album. That 10 track LP which was released on Mute Records is one of my favourite albums to date. After having been unable to attend the show Polly played at The Haunt last year I jumped at the chance to witness her in London.

Shacklewell Arms was basically a pub with an area in the back where they hold live events. At a guess I would say it held about 200 people. When the headline set began that is when it started to fill up. It had just gone past 9.30pm when Scattergood made her appearance on stage. The song which opened things up was a brand new one which will feature on the upcoming album and this being Cocoon. This number was played at a steady pace and was rather synthy. It actually sounded amazing, the vocals were perfect and the song itself was rather infectious. My favourite part had to be the chorus “From my cocoon of angel wings, From my cocoon I’m going to let you in”. It was then straight into another newie and this being Falling. This had a dance pop vibe to it and the lyrics fitted to the upbeat melody perfectly. Its verses were pacey and superbly delivered. I especially liked the songs middle 8 where the melody changed. “The first 2 songs that I just played for you are from my new album which is coming out soon” Scattergood then said before delving into something from her début self titled album. Next up was the haunting Untitled 27 which is becoming one of my favourite Polly songs as I can picture a story to the song. When hearing this song performed live I picture a girl who is in a coma/ life support and her spirit is in limbo. You then begin to realise that this girl had suicidal tendencies and I am guessing an overdose was the reason that she ended up in a coma. From its lyrics I picture that the guy that she was with had lost someone whom he loved dearly. It then became all to much for this girl as she didn’t want to live in someone else’s shadow “It hurts to be here”. This then led to her taking her life. Right at the end she then flatlines after saying “Goodnight, My love” to the one that she was with. Following on was Disco Damaged Kid. This brand spanking tune has been doing the rounds for a while and it was an amazing electro ballad with plenty of synths. It actually has a thumping melody which you just want to dance along to. It was straight into the next number of the night and this being the ever so infectious Bunny Club. I love this song so much. It has brilliant catchy lyrics. Lyrics that make you want to sing along to. There is nothing bad to say about the song it has everything you could ever want to hear. Polly’s newest single to be taken off the forthcoming album was then up and this being Wonderlust. This sublime synth led track was superbly delivered. I really liked the spoken word part “In the background of a battle field, I can hear a synthesiser, and I can hear drums, and when I shut my eyes I can hear an orchestra playing”. It was then onto Miss You which they were almost not going to perform. This was a gentle tune which was tad emotional as the lyrics tell a story of losing someone close to you and coming to terms with it. Miss You is similar to Untitled 27 as it deals with death “From the 17th floor, It was a monumental drop”. Miss You can easily tug at your heart strings. The story that it tells was so emotional. “This is the last song that we’re going to play for you tonight” Polly then said to the audience resulting everyone groaning as they didn’t want the evening to come to a close. Ending this spectacular show was Machines. This tune was gentle/ mellowing and dreamy at the same time. The vocal performance was spot on and Scattergood put so much energy into it. Once over Polly then left the stage which then resulted in the whole of the audience erupting into applause in hope of an encore. That is what came the encore which wasn’t planned. The final song of the night was Silver Lining. This was the first time I had heard this track. Silver Lining was only released on the Mute compilation record Vorwarts back in 2011 especially for Record Store Day. Silver Lining had fantastic verses and was the perfect end to such a wonderful night.


Untitled 27
Disco Damaged Kid
Bunny Club
Miss You


Silver Lining

OVERALL: It may have been 4 years since I last witnessed Polly Scattergood perform live but from what had been showcased I would want to see her again sooner than later. The tracks that were sung were pure perfection and it makes me anticipate sophomore album Arrows which is released this spring. I enjoyed the fact Scattergood performed my favourite tracks from the début album. I have actually got a new found love for Untitled 27.

Out of the new songs that were showcased I would have to say that even though I enjoyed them all Miss You slightly edges it.

Also I have to mention about the support Talicza Stevens who performed original material which sounded fantastic. Plus she tackled Cruel Moon which was sung by the band that she is in. Stevens is a member of Aphrodite & The Alphabet whom I will see play live in the future.


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