Continental – Americana UK Review

Some fine words from Dave Cowling of Americana UK for Orwell’s latest album Continental:

“On previous Orwell records Jerome Didelot’s primary sensibility was classic Gallic pop mixed with some California sunshine, those ingredients are still here and there’s an addition. The motorik beats of Krautrock underpin a lot of these songs, not in an oppressive driving way, there’s just an insistent nagging undercurrent that keeps the songs moving, as a result there’s an added heft and substance to the songs.

To help with this transformation Didelot uses tools from the early days of electronic music, moogs, rhythm boxes and even the stylophone.  ‘Always’ starts with the pocket synth, it is soon surrounded by the lush sounds and insistent rhythms associated with Can, here though the tone is somewhat lighter, the multiplicity of interconnecting patterns creates a criss-crossing cats cradle of sound.

Intent is signalled by the opener ‘Continental’ you could easily mistake its early moments for vintage Kraftwerk and if it wasn’t for the airiness of the vocals the whole could be a remix of a Man-Machine off-cut, there’s even a verse in German. Didelot is at heart a romantic and he can’t help but indulge himself in unabashedly AOR sounds ‘Follow Me, Boy’ is Todd Rundgren, it’s ELO, it’s brash, sentimental and joyful.

He’s never far away from a bright melody and can’t help but tweak pop’s fat cheeks. Even when messing around it’s always within the context of something smooth and rich, ‘Them’ sets off a synth with repeating patterns that sound like banging bottles with soft mallets, it doesn’t take long for a lilting Latin beat to take over, the off kilter elements return to dance with their more formal counterparts. The songs are like bright splotches of fuzzy felt, soft, tactile made from bright primary colours. The reserved strings that start ‘A Long Way to Start’ are an aberration and they soon give way to what sounds like OMD dancing with the Kings of Convenience. There’s a song called ‘Everytime the World is Too Loud’ which is fitting as the whole record can fulfil this function, it caresses your ears and makes the world seem a better place.”
– Dave Cowling, Americana UK

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