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Orwell live review at Mello Mello

by Richard Lewis. Published Sun 12 Jun 2011 10:52, last updated: 14/06/11

The project of Gallic Burt Bacharach/Brian Wilson composer Jerome Didelot, Orwell’s gig at Mello Mello constitutes the first full-on performance the band have undertaken on these shores.

Live, the band are piloted by Jerome on acoustic guitar, vocals and samples, the songwriter backed by Jacques who augments the songs with vibraphone and additional vocals.

Occasionally looping guitar and keyboard motifs before moving across to other instruments, despite being only two in number, the duo recreate the lush pop moments of recent album Continental superbly.

Frequently reaching over to create melody lines on the stylophone, Jerome evokes the same space-age bachelor pad music Stereolab once specialized in. The High Llamas’ classy baroque pop is within earshot on several of the tracks, along with the literate sophistication of The Divine Comedy.

Harvest Sun brought them to the café setting of Mello Mello for the performance suits the band more than any Academy venue, the band’s tracks hardly moshpit inducing.

Alongside new material, the back catalogue is visited, the French language tracks and instrumentals slotting in alongside their English sung counterparts seamlessly.

In Your Playground, performed almost solo by Jerome displays a darkness not as detectable on other songs, indicating possible new avenues his songwriting may take.

Elsewhere, the summery Always evokes the clearer moments of Swedish band The Radio Dept, motoring along on a simple acoustic arpeggio and sylophoned melody lines.

Another highpoint from the album, the capoed guitar led Lonely Ride, supplemented by a gentle electronic undertow amply demonstrates Jerome’s superlative songwriting craft.

Pictures by Marie Hazlewood



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