Portland Arms, Cambridge, May 5th

Seven Doors Hostel is Alexander Lindback from up-and-coming Norwegian group, Seven Doors Hotel, armed with a guitar, a harmonica and some very funky boots. He also looks a bit like Jack Osbourne. The good people of Cambridge crowding the little back room of The Portland revelled in the nice ambience created by his soul-stirring melodies plucked straight from long walks on lonely snow-covered mountainsides. Ah, lovely. Until his initially strong vocals got slightly whiney and annoying. Otherwise, very promising and pleasing and well worth a butchers.

Now everyone should have heard of The Broken Family Band. For those not in the know, they are four amusing and somewhat attractive local chaps who champion alt-country rock like it's going out of style. Which, for as long as there are acts of this caliber around, doesn't look very likely. Some old guy called John Peel especially loves them. Playing material from their forthcoming album, "Written on the Meat", (featuring the addictive blend of Neutral Milk Hotel-style tunes backing a whole host of cynical yet heartrendingly beautiful lyrics we've all come to love), their entertaining set also featured excessive use of the phrase "That's buuuuuuull- sheeeeeeeet", prompting the men in the audience to bob their heads so vigorously I half expected to trip over a few on my way to the bar. If I had been able to move myself, I would have started a mini ho-down but, alas, I was penned in by the head-bobbers. Oh well.

And, whilst The Broken Family Band play music to listen to after perhaps breaking up with someone, songs which tells you everything will be OK and sod the evil person that just broke your heart, then St. Thomas writes music for those still head-over-heels in love, or, at least, in lust. The men were still head-bobbing, getting more and more out of sync with the beat as the set went on, but this was soon accompanied by a warm, happy atmosphere, as the music encouraged couples to grab their nearest and dearest's hand and give it a little squeeze. Sweet.

Stealing a little bit from country, a little bit from folk and, at times, a little bit from lo-fi dirty-sounding rock and roll, the simple guitar, drums (tonight supplied by Seven Doors Hostel blokie), a nice pair of arms and a devastatingly sexy Scandanavian accent delivered one of the most endearing and highly watchable set of songs I have had the pleasure to watch. Wonderful uplifting harmonies enveloping you in a soft fluffy casing to make you feel like you're floating on air, paired with an extremely funny take on between-song banter, meant that, as much as the songs are amazing, the whole crowd couldn't wait for them to end to hear what anecdote would be revealed next. In fact, the only reason I was glad the show ended was because, given time, I thought either my heart would explode or my mascara would run. If I had stayed any longer, I would have fallen in love with St. Thomas and, being a dignified lady, wanted to avoid the scrum which no doubt surrounded him when he left the stage.

Anna Claxton