LIVE: Why We Run, Clews @ Captain Cook Hotel, Sydney, 14th Sep

A night of soaring harmonies and laser precision


Clews are built around two sisters, Lily and Grace, whose surnames I’m really hoping aren’t the obvious Clews (or, to be more numerically correct, Clew). In fact, I’m spending much of the time before they come on reconciling myself to the fact that they are probably and regrettably not named after the ball of thread used by Theseus to find his way out of the labyrinth. Oh hey, look who read the second Google result on the page when you search for “Clews”! Me! Ace journalism, right there.


They’re in duo mode tonight, just two voices and two guitars and it’s simple and sunny and creamy, like a picnic in the park. Their harmonies are the star of the show, a genuinely lovely sound that soars around the Captain Cook like a bird on the wind. They play a couple of newer ones, and end on their “Feel” release, a delight of an ending to the prettiest set I’ve heard in a while. They’re playing Sad Grrrls Fest in October, go see them then.

Why We Run

There are a few ways for bands to float my boat. The first and most common is to be loud, fast, angry, bonkers, or all four – that never gets old for me. The second, regardless of genre, is simply to be thoroughly enjoying yourself, which is a bit rarer, for some reason. Why We Run are squarely in the third, least common box, a band who come off like they care deeply for the craft of what they do, appealing to the brain as much as the bloodstream.

This is precision craftsmanship, and the band really know their onions. The rhythms from the bass and drums are tight and mathematical, the melodies from the guitar and keys are by turns spidery and expansive, and all of it is covered by the delicate strength of singer Nic’s vocal.

The set’s as well-constructed as the songs, starting off gosammer-thin, but getting meatier and meatier until the last two tear holes in the sky. It’s Big Indie, and while it’s not necessarily the sort of thing to get the heart and adrenalin pumping, it fires off the neurons in your head like thunderclaps.

Their debut album “Holograms” is out now and is rather good. You should buy it. Tonight was also the first of a run of residency dates Why We Run are doing at the Captain Cook Hotel in Sydney. Go along to at least one.


Why We Run