Airy, orchestral-pop brilliance from Jérôme Didelot and friends, propelled by guitars, piano, strings, brass, vocal harmonies, vibraphone and vintage electronics (Optigan, Mellotron, etc.). Richly arranged, but ever ready with the odd synth, tuba, backmasking or unexpected chord to pierce the mix, Orwell’s fifth album is a return to French after the English experience of 2011’s Continental. Vous ne parlez pas français? No worries! Sunshine pop and baroque rock are the lingua franca here.
Exposition Universelle was conceived on the tenth anniversary of Orwell’s debut album Des Lendemains. Listening back to the old material, Didelot felt many leads had been left unexplored:
“So I wrote ‘Exposition Universelle’ as if it was a kind of follow-up. The themes—the light and dark sides of mankind, the way the future is linked to progress, the gap between collective and intimate issues—are rather similar, as well as the instrumentation (quite orchestral) but the writing is more mature, I guess.”
Didelot’s collaborators this time around include Thierry Bellia (Variety Lab), Alexandre Longo (Cascadeur), Vincent Mougel (Kidsaredead), Julien Lonchamp (Jack and The’).