Ephemerals and Shunaji – The Jazz Cafe – February 26th 2020

I’ve been to Camden’s Jazz Cafe before but haven’t published a review from the iconic, always-cool space a short stumble from the tube station. It’s a proper music venue; happy punters, smiley, friendly staff, the music tickling with infectious joy. Wined and dined guests watch from their seats on the first floor balcony whilst the cool cats congregate in the dance floor square below. 

We’re here to see Ephemerals. I’ve written about them before on Sonic Breakfast (here). But that was a long time ago and the soulful jazz-funk ensemble have morphed along the way. They have a rich back catalogue and they will no doubt make fleeting use of it even if the intended outcome from this tour is the promotion of their new album, The Third Eye.

I arrive to see Shunaji take to the stage. She’s a happy bundle of energy, a mass of positivity as she welcomes herself back to the Jazz Cafe. She’s been two years away from this stage but her fine jazz hip-hop manner immediately warms the crowd’s cockles. During early single, Perfect Like Venus, she lays down her intent before waving an incense stick, delivering with a smile as she picks up the guitar she’s currently learning. A producer on a voyage of discovery, Shunaji is a fine warm-up to the main event. 

It’s either a measure of how good Ephemerals are or how great the beer is at the Jazz Cafe but I find myself submitting out of control superlatives to social media by the end of their set. Wolf, their singer, takes to the stage dressed in a full-length white robe. By the end of their third song, my notes ask why I’ve been so remiss to never watch Ephemerals live before. Trip hop gives way to a slow beautiful soul before it’s all shoved out of the way by a mad, mod electronica groove. It’s music that imposes itself upon you, gradually getting under your skin before clawing you tight. As I sway to the beat, I can’t help contemplating that this’ll rank as one of my gigs of the year. 

And it’s still only February. How fine this London life is. 

Ephemerals – You’ll Never See Me Cry

 I’ve had my fair share of relationship break-ups over the years. I’ve dealt with them in a number of ways but the common factor in all is that I’ve blubbed like a baby. Admittedly, some of those tear-stained goodbyes have lasted for mere seconds yet others have been cathartic, waterwork exercises that have surely tested the patience of my most chilled friends. 

 So, I confess to not entirely understanding the emotional sentiment of the new song from London based soul act, Ephemerals. “You’ll Never See My Cry” isn’t immediately identifiable as a break-up song but by the end of verse 2, the listener is left in no doubt.

 There’s hurt and regret a-plenty within this beauty. Tears might not be streaming down the face of the singer in that faux manner that viewers of X factor will be all too familiar with. Nope – this suppressed pain comes direct at you from the heart – and it’s all the more raw and powerful for it. 

 “You’ll Never See Me Cry” is the first release from Ephemerals second album, ‘Chasin Ghosts’ that’s just been released on Jalapeño Records. I’ve heard short snippets of the tracks on the album. 

 On the evidence provided, these are some Ephemerals that are very unlikely to be transitory or to quickly fade.