Song Noir: The Director’s Cut
Pumajaw successfully conjure late night glamour of film noir at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Song Noir's theatrical trappings – moody lighting, video, a series of pre-recorded spoken word interludes – are neglible, adding little depth to the already moody and profound songs. Through a mixture of classic covers, with cinematic associations, and their own numbers, Pumajaw conjure a recognisable atmosphere: the smoky, late night glamour of film noir, all frustrated love and mysterious cityscapes.
Pinkie Maclure has an exquisite voice and an impressive range – from husky and sinister to melancholic, soft and sensual, and she claims the various covers as her own, helped by instrumentalist John Wills' busy soundtracks. Sinister and cynical, Pumajaw's own songs inhabit that dark hinterland of desire, hinting as frustration and disappointment, but never quite collapsing into anything as simple as a straight narrative.
Rather, they examine love through a series of bleak filters – the Nancy Sinatra standard Bang Bang is slowed to a glacial, desperate crawl – and overcome the acoustic and atmospheric problems of Summerhall's Red Lecture Theatre. Song Noir is a disorientating and sneakily sexy cycle – it is only the weak theatrical additions that undermine its seductive effect.
Summerhall, 560 1581, run now ended.