They say you should never judge a book by its cover, but sometimes the front can tell you exactly what to expect and emphasise something’s importance. The stunning scene from Liverpool’s Cathedral which adorns this particular cover perfectly encapsulates not only the grandeur of the cathedral itself, but the stunning atmosphere that any Anathema show has to offer.
A Sort Of Homecoming (Kscope) gives both a live video and audio version of Anathema’s Liverpool Cathedral show; part of a run of stripped down, mostly acoustic shows across similar venues around the UK and Europe, but a show in the band’s home town shows a great personal significance and familiarity to them. Some brief, jovial heckles here and there do not detract whatsoever and even highlights the warmth their music generates.
Much of the set on offer has been in heavy rotation in recent tours, and of course the latest album Distant Satellites (Kscope) gets a heavy airing, but even the regularity many will surely have heard these songs before does not lessen their effect or their presence whatsoever, and in actual fact the band do a lot to keep them sounding fresh.
‘The Lost Song Part 2’ opens the show to a fairly sombre note and curiously is done so without its corresponding parts, as Lee Douglas takes the first vocal duties of the night, and once again showing her improving confidence each and every show. Elsewhere, the poignant ‘Dreaming Light’ becomes a duet with Vincent Cavanagh sharing vocals with Lee, and ‘Internal Landscapes’ gets taken to its bare bones and sees Vincent and Danny singing together. An uncommon airing of ‘Electricity’ also helps to keep this set unique, alongside stunning performances of the likes of ‘Ariel’ and ‘A Natural Disaster’.
The video performance of this does well to showcase the gravitas of the surroundings and offers a clear, well shot document of the event throughout, all the while sounding crisp and note perfect, making this a live album that holds a candle to many of the greats. The largely familiar set list could have been a pitfall for those who have seen Anathema regularly in recent years, but the band’s unsurprisingly resonant and strong performance, plus the originality of the stripped down song versions and the magnificence of the venue itself, make this a very special release, and shows just why these guys are held so dearly in the hearts of many.