You will hear the usual chaos of a family reunion; tiny riots of laughter that reduce the span of absence to a distant memory. You’ll hear the in-jokes, the memories and the recalling of age-old embarrassments. These are all the sounds of home.
The Soorleys are a tousled bohemian outfit. Sisters Beth, Laura, Shelley and Millie are up front, with husbands Sam and Christopher and brother Nick in tow, rounded out by an evolving list of friends and stragglers – when it comes to bands, few people can boast such familial chemistry.
The daughters of a travelling preacher, Beth, Laura, Shelley and Millie were never far from an impromptu knees-up. There were hastily arranged renditions of ‘Edelweiss’, or the gospel sway of Sister Act’s ‘Joyful, Joyful’ – one that still gets wheeled out at family gatherings. It wasn’t long before the sisters were finishing each other’s musical sentences, creating four part folk harmonies that channeled vocal groups of the 60’s.
Love did the rest of the work. Childhood sweetheart Sam was drafted in on drums, raised on a trans-Tasman diet of Crowded House and Aussie folk-rockers Goanna. Lured from across a crowded bar by Beth’s pitch-perfect rendition of ‘Summer of 69’, multi-instrumentalist Chris joined the family soon after.
Together, they are The Soorleys.
The moniker is a tip of the hat to a mother’s maiden name; the music is a family jamboree. They call it ‘fun folk’; the raw stomp of their Irish ancestors and the pop sensibilities of Fleetwood Mac. The Soorleys are here to get you dancing. There’s no shoegazing here; onstage the sisters spin, hoot and holler with joy and abandon. “Thunders roar, we dance, we’re chasing all our fears away,” they sing, chanting incantations atop folk rhythms.
You will hear the usual chaos. The four part harmonies, the jangle of banjos and the thump of the floor tom. The reckless spirit of a big tent revival.
Welcome to the family.