Throughout her sole performance at Edinburgh Park, Kathryn Joseph claims more than once that her singing and songwriting are actually rubbish. At one point she says that she can’t believe she is allowed on stage – this coming from someone who played alongside The Cure at Hyde Park after being handpicked by Robert Smith. By the end of the night, Joseph is the only one unconvinced. The Inverness-born musician specialises in crafting dreamscapes out of haunting piano melodies and piercing vocals, and it is a talent on full display whenever she takes the stage.
Joseph brings to mind a number of musical comparisons, but the reality is that she is stunningly unique in her style and writing. Each one of Joseph’s spellbinding songs proves to be the foundation of a visceral project in emotion and world-building. One track in particular about a crow is delightfully chilling (or that might just be the cool breeze and thunderous rain from outside the tent). The sombre qualities of her music coincide with Joseph’s more humorous personality, which shines through whenever she engages with the crowd, helping to craft the concert into something more personal and involving.
Although the Edinburgh Park venue is somewhat exposed to the elements, the way Joseph’s vocals fill the tent is staggering. Meanwhile, the light show surrounding her as she performs isn’t especially flamboyant, but soaks the stage in a smokescreen display of colour that further emphasises the magical qualities of the music. The entire experience transports you to another realm, where what you hear is given far more weight than what you see and you are invited to dwell on every lyric.
The sounds at times feel full of juxtaposition; at once hard and soft, and warm but often bleak. It is just the tip of the iceberg of Joseph’s music, and the more you let yourself sink into the sound, the more you stand to be rewarded with emotional depth and significance. By the time she dials out the final notes on her keyboard, resonating like an irregular heartbeat inside your head, you will know that you have witnessed something very special.