‘Tropical pop’ is a neat – if kind of crude – tag for those sun-drenched
songs built on rippling textures, polyphonic rhythms and ‘primitive’
percussion (as if played by whooping loin-clothed islanders,
maybe – told you it was crude).
But over on the shady side of the island, where the vegetation lies in
damp tangles rarely brushed by the equatorial sun, a cooler, dreamier
kind of ‘tropical pop’ germinates.
Visions of Trees add a dose of minor-chord industrialism to this
darker side of trop-pop, like the twisted steel of a burnt-out
propeller plane rusting in the jungle.
Without labouring the metaphor any further, the duo
carve a downbeat niche from Joni’s mournful beats and Sara’s RnBinflected vocals, Visions
like the sadface rave of The Knife or Crystal Castles.
Annoyingly, all that ethereal dreaminess falls pancakeflat on stage at XOYO, with the untreated vocals too plain and too high in the mix to chime with the lazy Liz Fraser comparison I’d heard.
While the beats are interesting enough – if nowhere
near ground-breaking – the show would be more captivating if VoT
fucked with the good-girl vocals.
There’s no denying the potential, but maybe they can’t visualise the
wood for the… nah, I won’t say it.
Joining them in the freaky quadrant are Wooden Shjips, playing at half four in the morning on the last night.
Guitar bands of their ilk are very thin on the ground here and that,
along with the other-worldly quality of their tunes and technique, sets them apart.
We hardly needed confirmation but, even after an energysapping fifteen-hour journey from Manchester, they fucking rule
If the milieu of centuries-old Gallic customs gets daunting, refamiliarise yourself with your contemporary, disposable existence.
Grab a ‘Subway’, buy Call of Duty: Black Ops at Game
and head to the Melody Maker Bar to drink under a large pop-art
They’ve got everything we’ve got in England! And for all
those who won’t eat McShit abroad on principle…
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