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Live Review: FourPlay String Quartet

21 February 2014 | 11:55 am | Liz Giuffre

FourPlay weren’t ‘back’ tonight – they just showed they’ve never really been away.

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When the night is framed by a venue's owner singing food order announcements as dinners are served, you know you're in for something pretty cool. The Camelot Lounge is unique in its approach, atmosphere and musical experience, somehow creating a space where little kids and non-family types are able to co-exist happily, and where a big screen focused on the performers is a perfect complement to a room that's already quite intimate. It's unsurprising, then, that FourPlay chose here to preview their first album in years – their first outing featuring only original material, but also an exploration that continues to show the quartet's diverse abilities and musical experiences.

Giving too much detail away about the micro-specifics of key tracks feels a bit unfair at this point (only because it feels like giving away the ending of a film when it's only had advance screenings), but this writer can say confidently that there are lots to look forward to when the final release hits in a few months. The sounds varied from gypsy to jazz, experimental soundscapes and old school schmooze, while the 'work in progress' moments (like the tune currently titled Space Party Awesomeness by one of the band's little ones) were a sweet insight into the writing process. Although it's been a while since FourPlay were home (they just said 'ages' tonight – who are we to argue?) – there's something ageless about the band's approach. Lara Goodridge's voice remains light as always, the Hollo boys continue their gentle leadership (and playfulnesss) while violin powerhouse Shenzo Gregorio slipped seamlessly between rock solo master, jazz god and gypsy king. The new stuff was clearly the centre tonight, but it would be remiss to ignore the odd cover too (notably Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat, dedicated to the Camelot Lounge owner). FourPlay weren't 'back' tonight – they just showed they've never really been away.