Jesus may have won the battle, when he kicked the moneylenders out of the temple, but he lost the war. Idolatrous, life-sized silver male and female torsos (nipples intact) – which clearly contravene one or more of the Ten Commandments – stand to the left of the stage on a table, while the vicar walks up and down the aisles making sure the audience disposes of its empty beer glasses responsibly, and Emmy The Great sings songs of love, sex and death. And people say that the Church of England blows in the wind. But with such reasonably priced drinks and beautiful surroundings, who cares if the Anglican Church is tomorrow’s Wetherspoons? Not I. And why let the moral and ethical austerity of the past be a prison in which these beautiful buildings rot and die?

It is something oddly in agreement with the central thread that runs through Emmy The Great’s songs. Regretful and/or burdensome memories and experiences lie heavily on the characters in her songs, but the past is also a source of strength and never feels like it’s distorting the realities of the present and future. It’s a hackneyed subject matter that could be trite if Emmy The Great did not attack it with such passionate articulation, wit and musical nous. Lyricist and vocalist Emma-Lee Moss is unflinching in her approach and it is this directness that sets her apart from and above some of her twee, nu-folk contemporaries, with whom she is lazily associated.

At her best, as on ‘24’, the brutal ‘We Almost Had a Baby’ and the rousing ‘First Love’ – all given seminal renditions tonight – she creates situations so real that you feel they are your own personal experiences. On the other hand, when the message is obscure, the songs less accessible and familiar she comes across as just another singer-songwriter trying to break the church circuit. There’s a fine line here. At times I find myself drifting off more into my own mind than hers, which surely shouldn’t be if we’re being offered top value entertainment, and though they are occasionally exceptional, Emmy The great are more often no better than good.

But surely even Jesus would admit that such occasional perfection is an improvement on those pernicious moneylenders?

Chris Gilliver

I started out writing for the Manchester Evening News as a freelance journalist back in 2008. The idea that I would be given free access to music and gigs seemed somehow miraculous to me, and I proceeded to take full advantage of the situation. When the M.E.N. decided to constrict its coverage to only the very biggest bands, Simon Poole approached me with a plan to make sure that all the very talented musicians of this world that pass through and/or live in Manchester would not go unnoticed. As the New Releases editor here at Silent Radio Towers, it remains my proud duty to cast a critical eye over the music and reviews that come my way in a manner that is both supportive and fair. Above all, I strive to write as entertainingly possible. Favourite musicians include the Pixies, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, Mercury Rev, Os Mutantes, The Knife, Beach House etc etc. I'm a firm believer that all genres (except nu-metal) contain music of great quality...