A Winged Victory for the Sullen @ Manchester Academy 3, 14.01.12

Whilst Ed Sheeran expels his acoustic-(c)rap combo next door, the crowd here bears witness to the beautiful A Winged Victory for the Sullen. With their recent album’s poignant symphonies tugging at heart strings, tonight’s moody surroundings could not be more suitable. Bracketing the three-piece string section with Dustin O’Halloran as circus masters, Adam Wiltzie promises “Seven pieces of music about broken hearts and dead people.” It’s a promise that could not have been delivered more captivatingly.

Jan 14th, 2012 at Manchester Academy 3 / By Alex Yau
A Winged Victory for the Sullen Blissful. Serene. Soothing. These are just some of feelings that are evoked tonight. Parts of the crowd drop their heads in a hypnotised trance, supposedly immersed in the heavenly sanctums A Winged Victory for the Sullen create with their music. ‘We Played Some Open Chords and Rejoiced’ hardly raises its volume past its gentle, piano lulls but it’s enough to send chills throughout the room. ‘Requiem for the Static King’ and ‘Steep Hills of Vicodin Tears’ are both equally sublime: the sombre, swanning strings of the former are enough to send even the most restless of person into peace, and the latter’s swelling cellos matches the room’s tranquillity pulse for gentle pulse.

With each gentle caress of ‘A Symphony Pathetique’s lonesome ivory, O’Halloran sends goose bumps through everyone’s body. The ambient strings provide a gentle stream to carry his sorrowful, drifting chords and as we reach the finale, strings weave sinisterly like the handler charming the cobra. As the final chords ring sullenly, the audience is left breathless. There’s hopefulness to A Winged Victory for the Sullen’s music. As they leave the stage, we’re given a new outlook on the dark dingy weather awaiting us outside.