bridget storm
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bridget storm


Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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"Bridget Storm - Here's What's Left"

Julie McLarnon's debut full-length befits her Bridget Storm persona. Ms. Storm's hushed girlish whisper presides over these elegantly constructed arrangements like a coastal depression. Loping along with understated majesty, her music recalls the hypnotic melancholia of Tindersticks, richly embellished with cellos and violins in broad brushstrokes. McLarnon, a native of Manchester, England, got her start in music working for famed producer Martin Hannett (New Order, Happy Mondays, Joy Division) at age 16. She learned her lessons well, judging from the album's exquisite sound.

Gentle yet seductive, McLarnon's voice entices the listener like a femme fatale enveloped in an air of pendulous drones and haunting tones. On "Conditioning," she repeatedly murmurs, "Wishing it all away/You just want to be Hey hey I'm okay,'" while beneath the Moog peels and driving bass, background creaks and groans can be heard as though her world were being shaken by blustery winds of change. "Losing It" is a warm lullaby of rural British folk, keyed to a bracing violin and McLarnon cooing, "What are you going to do about this?"

Everything here feels painstakingly rendered, from the fragile music-box version of Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel" ("Quaalude Interlude") to the swirling turbines of guitar noise that elevate "Terrestrial Living" over its elastic bass line. A terrific young talent, McLarnon has created a quintessential bad-weather album, a shadowy firmament of black clouds, whining wind and candle-lit hostages swaddled in blankets, waiting out the storm.

Chris Parker - Phoenix Times (USA) - PHOENIX TIMES

"Bridget Storm - Here's What's Left"

I feel extremely privileged to have seen Manchester, England, post-pop alchemists Bridget Storm perform at CMJ in November. The hypnotic undulation of the band onstage translated to the appreciative swaying in the small-yet-transfixed audience - for about 35 minutes, time stood still in Manhattan.

Which brings us to 'Here's What's Left'. Sounding like a female-fronted Tindersticks but with a distinctive new-wave flavor (Julie Mclarnon, in fact, once served time in riot-girl punk-popsters the Thrush Puppies), Bridget Storm has crafted what on the surface is sometimes called a sleeper of a debut but is in fact compellingly cinematic and memorable on all fronts. It fully deserves to be heard outside the confines of the group's family and friends - of whom I'm proud to list myself in the latter category.

Fred Mills, Associate Editor - Magnet Magazine

"Bridget Storm - Here's What's Left"

Julie McLarnon (born in Manchester to Irish parents) is Bridget Storm. She wrote, sung, played, recorded and mixed almost everything here. Once of riot grrl also-rans Thrush Puppies, McLarnon now makes beautiful, haunting music in a Tindersticks/Tom Waits/Gavin Bryars vein. 'Oraine' in particular, owes a lot to early Tindersticks, but the album adds a lot
more than female vocals to the mix. 'Quaalude Interlude' is a version of 'Heartbreak Hotel' played on xylophone with My Bloody Valentine-type interference. 'Terrestrial Living' could be a glam rocker from the 70s. A serious new talent is emerging on this album. It might not sell millions, but it’s destined to at least become a late-night favourite for discerning listeners.

Pádraig Collins - The Irish Times - IRISH TIMES

"Bridget Storm - Here's What's Left"

Manc-born singer-songwriter makes uneasy listening debut

Having fronted all-girl guitar crew Thrush Puppies, Julie McLarnon aka Bridget Storm is now trading in discomfiting pastoral folk and oblique psychedelia-tinged indie. All is clear upon reading "dedicated to my sister Lorraine McLarnon 1962-1999" on the sleeve, the listener now hearing the lyrics of 'Wake' with different ears.

Nylon strung guitar, cello and violin predominate, but there are also examples of the studio trickery that our host learned as a recording engineer with producers Martin Hannett and Chris Nagle. McLarnon's lower vocal range recalls Kate Bush, and on 'Losing It' and the title track, her readiness to probe the dark side of the psyche cements the comparison. In short, this is a challenging, blackly beautiful work, the creaky, 'Heartbreak Hotel'-playing music box that underpins 'Quaalude Interlude' serving as musical shorthand.

James McNair - MOJO Magazine - MOJO MAGAZINE, UK

"Bridget Storm - Here's What's Left"

On first listen this album by Manchester born Julie McLarnon is an unsettling experience. But there is something in the more immediately accessible tracks such as ‘Losing It’ and ‘Stitches’ which make one realise that this is an album which is going to be worth sticking with, although it is never going to be an easy ride.

Former ‘Thrush Puppie’ Julie plays the major part in Bridget Storm, writing all the songs, playing guitar, piano and organ and also, according to the credits, makes various unidentifiable noises, of which there are a good few scattered throughout the tracks. Julie also mixed and recorded everything on the album, putting into practice the craft she learnt from the much missed and talented Martin Hannett. Mention should, however, also be made of the contribution of Angela Duddy on violins and the cello playing of Semay Wu which add greatly to create the unsettling atmosphere, especially on the opening song, ‘Wake’ and the subsequent track ‘Oraine’.

The mood given by these opening songs and the, at times hard to decipher, lyrics on ‘Wake’ make more sense to the listener once the sleeve note “dedicated to my sister Lorraine McLarnon 1962-1999” is read. These two songs bring to mind the music of Tindersticks. Close your eyes and you can imagine Stuart Staples singing these songs, especially ‘Oraine’.

It is however, on track three, the aforementioned ‘Losing It’ where the album really comes together and starts to shine. With Julie’s vocals sounding increasingly like those of Kate Bush, and the strings conjuring up the sound of ‘Army Dreamers’, it shows that Julie has an ear for a catchy melody, and a talent for taking those melodies and blending them into songs which create such a compelling and, at times, chilling atmosphere.

This sound is carried over into the next track, ‘Stitches’, which has already, rightly so, been released as a single, albeit on a short run. The song gained approval from John Peel along the way. With some brilliant bass playing by Paul Blakesley and additional guitar by Kara Leckenby, it’s a beauty of a song, and when the drums kick in at 1 minute 15 it gives the song an almost psychedelic feel. Perfect for late night/early morning listening, it’s a reflective yet optimistic song of lost love, the lyrics “You hurt me too much to say I’ll be alright, I’ll stay alive…” leading into a heartbreaking instrumental fade out which leaves one aching for more of the same. Thank God for repeat buttons!

If there is a fault with this album it’s that Julie’s at times fragile and angelic vocals are buried a bit too low in the mix which makes some of the lyrics, as mentioned earlier, hard to understand. It’s a shame, but as this is an album that one grows to love over a number of plays (and it does take time to reveal it’s dark beauty) it does have the advantage of then throwing up new surprises in the lyrics with every listen. The lyrics that are easily deciphered show that Julie has a good way with words. Although this is an album to be listened to and not to be chucked on when doing the ironing as background music and is more for those reflective, chilled out moments, having the vocals more to the fore would, however, have been nice. That is, a minor quibble though as this is really is an unique album and as far away from the riot girl sound of Julie’s previous band Thrush Puppies as possible.

‘Here’s What’s Left’ is an album which throws up new twists with each play, and one which the listener can return to time and time again and not get bored with. Its unclassifiable really, apart from recalling the above mentioned Tindersticks and Kate Bush on certain tracks. Julie has turned in a remarkable, unique collection of songs including the strangest take on Elvis Presley’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ that you are ever likely to hear!

Malcolm Carter -

"Bridget Storm - 'Here's What's Left'"

I reviewed a Bridget Storm seven-inch a few months ago, I seem to remember, and it was good. Well-rounded, melancholic, and deftly understated melodies were the order of the day. It was good, but it certainly didn't prepare me for this at all.

Bridget Storm are built around the songwriting and vocal talents of Julie McLarnon, and it's her breathy, sweet, memorable voice that make this album such an experience. Arrangements are tight and measured, Paul Blakesley adding a low-key guitar and accompaniment from strings building the feel of the record nicely. The effect is not a million miles from Tori Amos' early solo career, Hope Sandoval, Tindersticks, or indeed Copenhagen or Tram. Though no-one remembers them, similarities with fantastic antipodean band The Paradise Motel can be seen also.

The opening track, 'Wake' grabs the attention of the listener almost immediately. It begins quietly, with only an acoustic guitar and cello supporting Julie's clear and darkly melancholic vocal. It builds slowly, Julie's vocal coming on like a wrecked diva as brushed drums add a brilliant sombre air. And then it just explodes into a magnificent swirling torrent of sound, vocals intertwined around painful, reflecting lyrics. It's quite an incredible effect, all told. And it's one that continues throughout.

'Stitches' is delightfully sombre, and 'Conditioning' uses subdued backing to create a threatening, almost dangerous mood. Its effective and edgy, and again the breathy female vocal makes it. If there's one criticism that can be made, it's that it all becomes a bit samey towards the end of the record. But then, that's like saying Nick Cave's 'The Boatman's Call' gets a bit samey. Also, the some of the music here can be a little heavy-going at times, but then you won't be listening to this to cheer yourself up. No, this is a dark, brooding wonder of an album, and is more than worth a look.

Paul Haswell - Strange Fruit


Stitches- 7" single
Terrestrial Living EP - 7" single and 4 song EP
Sleep EP- 7" single
Here's What's Left- Album
Drawbridge- Album (to be released Jan '08)



Sole responsibility for Bridget Storm lies with Julie McLarnon, but the uniquely ambitious and affecting records come easy. Especially when you've walked straight from the school gates into a job as a teenage intern at the legendary Strawberry Studios. Here Julie learnt some of all she knows as assistant to Joy Division's producer Martin Hannett and engineer/ producer Chris Nagle. She's now an in-demand producer herself, specialising in old school analogue recording.

The first Bridget Storm album released in 2002 was greeted with mighty praise from her peers like Smog, Low and Sparklehorse, all of whom invited her to tour with them.

'Here's What's Left' was a pick of the year album in publications across Europe and in Magnet and Phoenix Times in the US. The 2nd Bridget Storm album has been perpetually delayed by the popularity of Julie Mclarnon the producer/engineer. Having spent the last few years producing 5 albums and countless other projects including the debut solo album from Kurt Cobain's idol, former Vaseline singer Frances Mckee and various indie rising stars, The Aliens, King Creosote, Aidan Smith to name but a few. It wasn't until she left 5 months clear in her diary to have her 1st born this year that she managed to schedule work on her own record.

The long awaited and even more stunningly beautiful 'Drawbridge' is at the finishing line and set for release in January 2008. It features a nod to her mentor Martin Hannett in the form of a 7 minute cover of New Order's 'True Faith', and guest vocals on 2 songs from Domino Records artist James Yorkston. Stately string arrangments and velvety lush sonics are folded perfectly into a set of finely crafted heartstopping songs. It's been well worth the wait.

Here's what people thought of the 1st album....

" A terrific young talent, Mclarnon has created a quintessential bad weather album"

"a challenging, blackly beautiful work”

"The kind of songwriter who connects on multiple emotional levels. This record is crafted, compellingly cinematic and memorable on all fronts. Welcome the arrival of a major new UK talent."

“a remarkable, self-determined talent”.

"Draped in icy cellos, stately pianos and brooding psychedelic folk, the widescreen laments of 'Losing it' and 'Boy From Towerhill' mark out a songwriter unafraid of digging deep and taking risks".
UNCUT (5/5)

“a serious new talent is emerging on this album, it’s destined to become a late-night favourite for discerning listeners.” THE IRISH TIMES

" a spooked, lush, introspective sad and often beautiful album" CARELESS TALK COSTS LIVES

"‘Here’s What’s Left’ is an album which throws up new twists with each play,and one which the listener can return to time and time again and never get bored with. It’s unclassifiable really, apart from recalling Tindersticks and Kate Bush on certain tracks, Julie McLarnon has turned in a remarkable, unique collection of songs with the strangest take on Elvis Presley’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ that you are ever likely to hear! "

"quietly arresting. Musically hard to pinpoint, amazingly tender and dark. Its rich sound echoes the Tindersticks and australian band Paradise Motel. This is a great album!"