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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Lynch Rider Lulu

The Macbeth, Hoxton, 8th April 2008

Written by Richard Pearmain

A friend of mine recently asked me, stomach story “What is it with Swedish bands and ‘heartbeat’? Both Annie and Robyn have tracks called ‘Heartbeat’, stuff while The Knife wanted to be different and called a track ‘Heartbeats’.” Now, obviously the track I’m about to review is not called ‘Heartbeat’ or even ‘Heartbeats’, but the fact that my British friend could not only name three contemporary Swedish groups but also three of their songs without feeling as if he was exposing a guilty pleasure indicates how much our opinion Swedish music has changed (Ace of Base, anyone?).

Little Dragon
are more Dance-orientated and a good deal less retro than the ‘Heartbeat-ers’, but still know how to craft a Pop song you can be proud to love. ‘Test’ opens with a clanging not dissimilar to the 1950s musique concrete of Stockhausen, as if to remind the listener of electronica’s avant-garde origins, before immediately introducing today’s most irreverent application of such Classical techniques: the 4/4 Dance beat. Punctuated by the most minimal Ska-styled guitar/keyboard I’ve ever encountered (is that just one note?), driven by a Dub-bassline that becomes beautifully indistiguishable from the kick drum and featuring a Jazz interlude, like all great Pop songs ‘Test’ shamelessly steals from the best.

However, the undeniable highlight of the track is singer Yukimi. Recalling Matthew Herbert’s work with Dani Siciliano, her multitracked laidback delivery effortlessly transports the listener to the centre of a dancefloor at an indeterminate post-midnight hour. Soulful without forced vocal gymnastics and Bluesy without being cliched, much like the music itself, her voice is able to take in all that 20th century music had to offer and exhale something cohesive, contemporary and copious.

A chic dancefloor-filler.

Winding my way from the general hubbub of Old Street on a chilly Tuesday, approved sanctuary was sought in the welcoming environs of the Macbeth, this which was playing host to an album launch by Lynch Rider Lulu, store coupled with a launch for the band’s label, Alien Frequency Productions. I’d seen a bewitching set by Lynch Rider Lulu at the Vibe Bar some weeks ago, so my expectations were high, and I knew I wasn’t to be disappointed.

In front of an appreciative and attentive audience, the evening opened with a solo set of Americana-tinged acoustica from Sam Semple. Hexicon offered a mix of jaunty lo-fi pop and mellow alt-country, backed variously with wistful harmonies, a French horn and a wobbly Farfisa which was reminiscent of Stereolab’s fluffier moments.


The night, though, belonged to Lynch Rider Lulu, showcasing their debut album, Who’s Gonna Live There Now? The intimate setting of the Macbeth, with its’ suitably ambient decor, provided an ideal environment for their distinct sound. A bassless three-piece led by the deceptively delicate voice of Lucy Underhill, they blend brooding lo-fi twin guitars, melodies that can explode when you least expect them to and lyrics that swoop from the achingly tender (It’s You) to the macabre (Lady Betty, recounting the tale of a notorious 18th century hangwoman). The line-up was augmented for a couple of numbers by a guest bassist, but just as a trio they produced a remarkable, atmospheric set. Believe me, they’re well worth checking out.

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