“Land Yacht Regatta is our Sunday name,” he says introducing his musical collaboration with singer-songwriter Richard Walters and producer and multi-instrumentalist Patrick Pearson. “But it’s Tuesday so feel free to abbreviate.”
As audience members are quick to point out, it’s actually a Monday evening in Leeds, but it provides a moment of levity in between the band’s often dark, intense concoction of poetry, vocal melodies and post-rock soundscapes.
Augmented by Matt Taylor on bass and Mike Monaghan on drums, they perform most of their debut album Call In The Crash Team – one of the musical highlights of last year – starting with the bleakly poignant 33 1/3, a song about the death of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis.
In Zodiac T-Shirt youthful summer love tilts into an autumnal downpour of romantic disappointment; Great Coat finds its protagonist reminiscing as he rummages through the pockets before being consumed by sadness: “It’s a great coat, all right/Now that you’re gone/Just never ask me to put it on”.
Urban Myth #91 channels a heavier motorik groove. As it draws to a close Armitage deadpans: “That’s the last Ed Sheeran cover we’re doing tonight.”
Opera North soprano Lorna James joins them for two songs – the stirring Cascade Theory, with its Sigur Ros-like guitars and insistence that “one thing follows another”, and the startlingly beautiful Adam’s Apple, in which Armitage urges “let go”.
Winter Solstice favours Cocteau Twins-style atmospherics and effects pedals and borrows the line “Desire as a sylph-figured creature who changes her mind” from Prefab Sprout.
They close with the unnerving pandemic ode Lockdown that references Derbyshire’s first “social distancers” Emmott Syddall and Rowland Torre, “star-crossed lovers on either side of the quarantine line” during 17th century plague times. Armitage’s haunting refrain “The journey a ponderous one at times/Long and slow but necessarily so” serves as a grim reminder of all that we’ve been through in the past year and a half.
LYR’s second album, due next year, is quite something to look forward to.
Honourable mention should also be made of the support act, Anew Day, which pairs singer-songwriter David Henshaw, formerly of Leeds band Dancing Years, and pianist Simeon Walker. A mixture of bucolic folk-pop and late night melancholy, it sounds like a cross between Johnny Flynn and The Blue Nile and deserves a wider audience.