The Carpenters Songbook
- Henry Northmore
- 8 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Solid interpretations of classic pop
The Carpenters music is achingly beautiful. Fragile and tinged with sadness, even their biggest hits had a brittle melancholy edge. Opening with 'Yesterday Once More', Charlotte Brereton's voice doesn't quite have the bright clear quality of Karen Carpenter but it does have the emotion.
The Carpenters Songbook is a 'show-umentary', so between each live song a voiceover tells the story of the brother and sister duo over a series of vintage photographs. It's a bit staid but helps set the scene, giving each track context and depth. It also contains a lot of interesting info and doesn't shy away from the anorexia, anxiety and drugs that blighted their success.
Performed by a full band, 'Ticket to Ride', 'Superstar', '(They Long to Be) Close to You', 'We've Only Just Begun' and more are still wonderful slices of wistful pop. The only stumble is a mis-timed 'Top of the World' which never really recovers. Brereton admits taking on the Carpenters' back catalogue was harder than she imagined (her voice is probably more suited to the Joni Mitchell show she's also appearing in at the same venue). However, this is a perfect reminder of how gorgeous and affecting classic pop can be when written and arranged with as much skill as the Carpenters.
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 24 Aug, 1.45pm, £14 (£12).