who will miss mary...?

by Stephen Lambe, Musical Discoveries - July 2005

[Extract from a review of Guilfest 2005]

Sunday brought another highlight in who will miss mary...?, sure to become another Musical Discoveries favourite. This five-piece alternative rock band from London are fronted by the charismatic Mary Leay, who has a superb voice which combines beautifully with the rest of the bands tight, melodic harmonies.

Even on first listen the songs, performed with skill and dynamism, stand out as potential classics. Again, expect more on this band here soon...

who will miss mary...?

by Nora Birkbeck, Guilfest Review - July 2005

Once again, Guilfest stands alone amongst its peers in allowing The Great Unsigned to grace its major stages, thereby giving four blokes and a girl from East Grinstead the welcome opportunity to demonstrate their extraordinary brand of musical melodrama to a sizeable lunchtime crowd.

And what a brand it is. The band skilfully weld delicate acoustic arrangements to a solid electric backing, as melodies the size of Guildford cathedral are served up by singer Mary Leay – a girl-next-door-on-speed who sounds, for all the world, like the product of a lesser-known affair between Joni Mitchell and Robert Plant. Leay’s magnetism is already compelling; you can imagine nearby fast food vendors spilling their onions as she drags them into her attention force-field.

There’s nothing obvious about who will miss mary...? – nothing ersatz – but the songs still lodge in your head as if you’ve owned their CD for months. Opener 'Sooner Or Later' boasts a hook you could hang several coats on, while a later number that appears to be entitled 'Throw It Away' bubbles and builds to an emotional crescendo normally quite unheard of at this hour of the day. Also impressive is the band’s sonic authority; in the penultimate track they reign in a powerful groove to a whispering, 4-part harmony with the confidence of a band with twice their experience. They’re also unafraid
to rip up the pop rule book; in the same song, they manage to execute a perfect, sing-along chorus without the use of any words whatsoever. So who’s arguing?

Inevitably, one knows of a few people who might. As Leay twists and screams, and the finally unleashed guitars slam the thrilling 30-minute set to its conclusion, you can picture entire record company A&R departments shaking their heads, muttering “we’ll have a tough time marketing this,” and other such nonsense.

But while the world snoozes to Coldplay, one can’t help wondering how far a band like who will miss mary...? would really get, if only some gutsy industry shaker would take a chance on something other than the perpetual march of the bland.

who will miss mary...?

by DJ Skinns, The Komedia - August 2003

In a time when strong female vocal led bands are far and few between, WWMM? are the breath of fresh air needed to blow the filthy cobwebs of Pop Idol and its like from our senses. With brooding dark tunes such as 'Safe' to the more melancholic yet uplifting 'The Brightest Sky', the 'Safe' CD is their first recording as a full band.

'Safe' has a slightly eclectic mix of styles (a constant swing from new country to indie with a few stops-offs on the way) but all is kept in context by the sheer weight of the performances. One of the first things that strike you about this band is the sheer control that Mary Leay has over an audience. At not yet 23 years of age (but performing in bands from the age of 14) Leay has the voice and electric charisma of a well established and recognized diva. The way she can hold you with her voice is almost scary some times. From the moment she begins to sing you have to listen, and a hour or so later you realise your beer is warm and this is the last song and you really will miss Mary.

With vocals that send shivers down your spine and that make your ears declare their love for you forever, WWMM? are one of the best guitar bands you are likely to see in a very long time. If you see this band live (and you really should) you will be treated to tunes from Sinden and Leay’s early collaboration as a duet. With tunes from the soft and soulful 'I Walk With You Sometimes' and 'Right About Now' to the poppy 'Radio' each number is performed with passion and gravity. Will WWMM? make it big? They are currently looking to sign a major management contract for 2004 and if there is any justice in the world the answer is definitely “YES!”.

This is one of the finest acts I have seen this year and I can’t wait to see them again.

who will miss mary...?

by Steven Poole, The Guardian - February 2003

[Extract from a review of the London City Showcase 2003]

They turn out to be the highlight of the day... a spunky act with beautifully subtle vocal harmonies, like Everything But The Girl, only not as depressing, and with better tunes. Singer Mary Leay's range, delicacy and power would shame any Pop Idol contestant.

As I walk back to Sloane Square tube in the sunshine, I find myself whistling a chorus by who will miss mary...?

who will miss mary...?

by Annie Windley, Get Rhythm Magazine - March 2002

[Extract from a review of the Borderline's Singer-Songwriter Festival 2002]

Next, the most spellbinding performance of the whole four days. The place was full and, as four acts were playing on the night, when who will miss mary...? ventured on stage, many of the audience who'd come to see other acts were milling around talking by the bar, or at the back of the venue.

Just one song into the set, though, and you could have heard a pin drop from front to back, as everyone fell silent, spellbound by Mary's clear, perfect, Eva Cassidy-like vocals that sent a shiver down the spine. And so it remained throughout the rest of the set.

Regular readers will already know WWMM? as I profiled them back in September 2001, yet this was the most stunning performance I've ever seen them give.

Mary roamed the stage and controlled the audience, mic in hand - her presence on stage would have filled a huge stadium tonight, let alone the Borderline, yet she managed to make everyone feel she was singing for them personally. Truly it was like listening to an angel (with attitude!) sing, and when they finished, the cheers were the loudest of the whole event. Another act who unsurprisingly sold out of CDs.

who will miss mary...?

by Andrea Thorne, Making Music Magazine - October 2001

Odd name, meaningless even, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with a spot of esoteric nonsense. The sound who will miss mary...? produce is a left-field type of folk - gentle guitar melodies mixed with slightly bizarre female vocals which recall Kate Bush in their wilder moments.

'Radio', for example, would go down a storm at the Cambridge Folk Festival, where all that's required of the listener is to park their arse on the lawn, drink cider and dream along with the ethereal groove. That's not to say they're incapable of producing traditionally arranged songs of quite breathtaking beauty ('I Walk With You Sometimes' is gorgeous), but variety is the spice of life, or so I am told, and this certainly keeps listeners on their toes.

Quick Links :

Contacts :
Greg Sinden
Mary Leay
Ian Holdaway

Artists :
who will miss mary...?
Paul Connelly
Richard Wright
The Playfair Steps
Jennycat Music Productions
Ed Wilder

Photo Gallery :
who will miss mary...?

Press Reviews :
who will miss mary...?

Links :
Virtually Acoustic Club
Big Note


© Lounge Records 2005