Tonight, Roadhouse, Newton Street, Central Manchester, 8pm.

When Witness emerged two years ago, the Wigan-based quartet was bedevilled by arms-folding suspicion. No matter how many glowing articles they received, there was a murmuring consensus that they were a bit iffy. In truth, Witness had the temerity to garner too much press attention too early. For some, the fact that they went boozing in Wigan, rather than the Northern Quarter, meant that they weren't "quite right".

Yet how they sounded - scaled-down folk rock in the manner of Tim Buckley and American Music Club - was spot on. Especially when, two years later, the very same urbanites were digging Kings of Convenience, Turin Brakes and Alfie. Witness, apparently, weren't so peculiar after all. But while the timing for forthcoming second album, Under A Sun, couldn't be better, Witness still remain gloriously aloof.

At their best, Witness fashion a spectral form of acoustic angst, bathed in desolation and intensity. Much of this is due to Gerard Starkie's astonishing voice, a relocation to Bristol and the addition of a second guitarist, Julian Pransky-Poole.

On this form, they're still unlikely to gatecrash the grinning folkies carefree exuberance or make guest appearances with Fat Les. But they're not solely peddlers of glum. There's an honesty and tenderness here that leavens out the black terrains. Listen and learn.

Neil Davenport