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May 4, 2004

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Excerpt from "Funeral For A Friend Middlesborough Town Hall" show review

onelinedrawing are magic. Not the cold, calculating pseudo-psychology of Derron Brown, or the too cool to enunciate TV trickery of David Blaine. Pure, unadulterated white magic; the power to bewitch a room full of bored scene kids and win them over in the space of just half an hour. Workaholic Jonah Matranga's solo project (well, almost solo) is an excercise in what one person can truly convey from his soul. There's frustrated maniacal joy ('We Had A Deal'), soft, screaming, pain and fear (a cover of former band New End Original's 'Hostage'); but everything is fused with the power of that voice. A voice that's not afraid to crack and break, to whisper, or to scream, or to drift as the song takes it through a battlefield of emotion. Halfway through 'Your Letter', strains of the lyrics to 'Fake Plastic Trees' creep in to the tune, skewing the words to a different tune, infusing them with a new meaning. It's a trick he tries again later with a beautiful cover of 'Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)', a soft keening voice drifting over haunting guitar echoes. With all these reference points, it's as if he doesn't even realise that he himself is a reference point for a whole sub-scene who absorbed Far in their youth. Jonah will later join FFAF onstage as they cover 'This System' by Far; but until then, this feels less like a live gig, than a communal singalong, Jonah taking on requests from the crowd to complete the set; less from a need to fill up the time, but from a genuine wish to share. Jonah even invites people to hang around after the show so he can play one guy his request. It's truly bewitching.

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