Trouble in Paradise is an album replete with themes of sexual awakening, of long buried feelings emerging from the chrysalis of the self, but also of the fleeting temporary nature of desire. The opening track Uptight Downtown is a statement of intent and a stirring invocation to abandon yourself: to dance and to give in to desire and the night. This is echoed by Kiss and Not Tell, in which La Roux wants to “come out of her shell,” but also to keep that love a secret, the one desire completely incompatible with the other. The penultimate track, Let Me Down Gently is a request for gentle rejection of unrequited love tempered by the realisation that the rejection will still hurt. It is an almost perfect pop album that sounds like it was discovered in a time capsule from the 80’s, reminding us how good pop can still be.
So let me tell you of French indie fabulists Lolito, because nobody seems to know about them apart from those who were lucky enough to see them Live in Leaf in Sound City 2013, and that’s criminal. When I bought the album from Flo (one of the lead singers) I didn’t know if it could capture the sheer energetic verve or dynamism that was their Live performance – boy was I wrong. Berline is reminiscent of the Teen Titans theme by Puffy Ayumi, and just makes you want to jump from rooftop to rooftop in pursuit of masked villains, Bastrd focuses on confronting a friend about a relationship with the ridiculously catchy chorus “your relationships dumb, your relationships dumb, your relationships, dumb, dumb” (or at least I think that’s what they’re singing, as the lyrics aren’t exactly available anywhere and are sung half in French half in English – ah well! From here on in, you’ll have to just rely on my meandering impressions of what I think the band sung), and tracks like Annette’s Skirt and Spacione are equally frenetic, catchy, guitar driven indie pop that will appeal to you if you like the quirky and eccentric, like myself. In a world of manufactured, unimaginative shit, Lolito are like a breath of fresh air on a newly terraformed planet.
Imagine someone put bluegrass, Gypsy jazz and swing into a blender and then decided to throw a barn dance and you’ll get Rob Heron and the Tea Pad Orchestra. The songs are replete with tales of corrupt landlords, death by whiskey, and getting the coffee DT’s (“I’ve made the wrong decision, I’ve got double vision, I’m a gibbering wreck on the floor”), but although the songs share subject matter with the blues, there’s no misery to be had here; just light hearted toe tapping, cello spinning, finger clicking, rhythmically infectious tunes. Thanks to the diverse fusion of banjo, cello, strings and the lead singer’s well delivered vocals I’d find it hard not to recommend these musically eclectic upstarts with one foot in the past and an eye on the future.
Originally printed in Issue 316 of the Kirkby Extra, January 2015
Monthly music columnist for the Kirkby Extra, sometimes article writer for Get Into This. Freelance writer/artist/maker.