Huyton’s had its fair share of musical success stories and near misses over the years. Katie Mac’s eyes are on the prize, though, and thanks to the addition of a band in the pocket and a new song in her soul, she’s ready to release the ‘Believe’ EP and become a contender. By Alan O’Hare.
Katie Mac arrives about forty seconds into ‘Eye To Eye’. “I remember the rules you sat down and told me, if we abide by these we’ll do fine… ” she sings and the song takes off and never comes back down. It’s a joyous thing to bare witness to the birth of something. Sure, Mac has been around the Liverpool acoustic scene for a few years now, and her band have been by her side for a little while as well, but something has happened.
It was at the ‘alt-LIMF’ Smithdown Road Festival fundraiser, inside Sefton Park Palm House last month, that I saw something had changed for the Huyton songwriter. Her band slipped into gear and found the cognition to run her lilting melodies and lovely tunes for what seemed like forever. The punters loved it and there was a true connection. ‘Eye To Eye’ then, out next week, is the first glimpse behind the curtain at what the Merseyrail Sound Station and LIMF Academy-backed artist has been cooking up with crack producer Sam Duckworth (who remembers Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly.?).
“I choose a song and give everyone loads of shit until they’ve played it well enough,” she has said of her previous recordings. But, even if that was said with tongue in cheek, there’s an undeniable step up from what has come before on SoundCloud et al. Influences? Think the Laura Marling of ‘Short Movie’ and ‘False Hope’ (more ‘Royal Albert Hall’ sixty six than Newport Folk sixty three) and ‘Stories From The City… ‘-era PJ Harvey, but there’s also the vibrancy of Villagers and the soulful craft of Micahel Kiwanuka in there. In short, Mac will sound comfortably at home on the radio or playlists of late 2018. The lyrics turning around inside the perpetual motion of this electric waltz grab you, too: “Keep your eyes fixed on the back of your mind, don’t leave it unattended… ” offers a glimpse to the depth of ‘Eye To Eye’, and a nod to the influences of the literary likes of Patti Smith and Regina Spektor. The deft arpeggios and electric guitar flourishes, meanwhile, hint at greater sounds across the five-track ‘Believe’ EP – launched later this month with a headline gig on Hardman Street at Buyer’s Club.
“There’s too many guitar changes, too many different tunings and too many instruments for the stages we play on,” Mac said recently. That’ll all change on the back of ‘Eye To Eye’… the singer from two dogs is coming out fighting.
Friday August 31st 2018, 8pm
Buyers Club, Hardman Street, Liverpool
Pic by Elle Binns