Tusks is the solo project of Emily Underhill. The Hastings-born singer-songwriter shifts from genre to genre, at one moment making a tense electronic song and at others channeling her inner King Krule as she aggressively strums her guitar whilst delivering a faultless vocal.

Tusks is signed to the same label as Bjork, One Little Indian, and similarly she appears to have a number of guises, throwing on one mask after another in tonight’s performance at Soup Kitchen. First we hear ‘Stay’ from her debut EP False. It’s a song full of anxious pauses that has touchstones with FKA Twigs, particularly when the looped vocal merges with the icy electronics. The multi-talented nature of Tusks quickly reveals itself when she launches into ‘False’, where she plays guitar, keys and her drum machine whilst delivering a pitch perfect vocal.

The highlight comes when she sings ‘Do You Still Believe In Me’, before unleashing a bell tolling guitar sound and a howling backing vocal. It’s the first time she has released her claws tonight and the crowd find themselves stunned into silence. Her most guitar focused track yet comes in the form of ‘Last’, which is pulled from her forthcoming debut album. The song is anchored by a lo-fi strum, but its best moment is when she loops her vocal for a devastating chorus. ‘Toronto’, also from her debut album, is another song that highlights Tusks’ guitar playing. Instead of strumming, here she plucks producing a twee guitar part that emphasises her powerful vocals.

The final song is ethereal, with an intro more indebted to psych music than any of her previous songs. It’s an introverted personal number that again reveals her ability to tread between genres. Tusks is for now a hidden gem, but an audience much bigger than tonight’s will soon be watching her every move. Tonight, Lapsley came along to watch Tusks and, if tonight is anything to go by, Tusks’ career may just go in the same way as the XL star.

Alpines, the final act of the evening, make music so averse to what I usually listen to that it feels unfair to judge them. For me, they’re too willing to go in big, with over the top drums and choruses often too predictable.

The singer, however, does have a deep soulful voice and flourishes when the songs are slower, like on ‘Motionless’ which is far more subtle and paced than what has come previously. However, her voice is buried under a sound often too embellished. They fall into this trap throughout their set, often being as maximalist as possible and lacking the variation to flourish. However, the music is in line with much of what’s popular today and judging from the crowd’s response, they may succeed just the way they are.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.