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Anne-Marie Helder - Live At Portsmouth Guildhall Album Review

A recently unearthed solo set from 2009.

It takes self-assurance, talent and bravery to simply wander on stage, armed with nothing more than an acoustic guitar, and play a support slot.

With no layered musical backdrop, there can be no hiding place for any vocal inadequacies or off-script guitar notes. Panic Room’s Anne-Marie Helder is one of the few singers who can easily vault such hurdles, as this 2009 recording of her support slot with Ultravox proves.

What a brave choice to open with Hadditfeel, with the only backing for her soulful voice the sound of her tapping her acoustic guitar, but with her faultless vocal even the most sceptical Ultravox fan would have been enraptured. Dominoes is similarly engaging, and would unquestionably appeal to a wider audience.

Elsewhere, Pace and The Grace In You both conjure affectionate recollections of Joni Mitchell, and StarbuckStar is Helder’s lyrical demolition of the depressing Britain’s Got Talent mindset, complete with punchy guitar backing. The only remaining hope is that she records these tracks as part of a full studio album. Apparently this recording was only recently discovered, secreted away in a box of old books. Thank the Lord for spring cleaning…