Review from Plan B Magazine
Alex Neilson is one half of Directing Hand with experimental vocalist Lavinia Blackwall, alongside whom his freefall drumming edges close to a chaotic ecstacy that skates the surface of pain. The pairing of just percussion and vocal (with occasional harp and drone) is tough for both musicians, and while one senses they relish the technical extremes this pushes them to, the temptation is often to fill every space with a drum roll or vocal swoop. However, each song has a discrete atmosphere, from the stalk folk lament ‘My Lagan Love’ to the animalistic, chattering ‘In Elysium’. Inspired, apparently, by the works of William Morris, there is little that’s immediately late-Victorian about Songs From The Red House, but one senses Blackwall and Neilson are exploring the mystical, utopian side to Morris’ art and politics – a romanticised reading of him, perhaps, but one that’s steely, youthful and truly felt, in which every scream bites deep.
Frances Morgan, October 2008, Plan B Magazine