Watching ‘The Ego’ rejoin Take That this year was no fun at all… to begin with.
Robbie was the ultimate fair-weather parasite, trading his spectacularly wrecked career for one that he’d arrogantly shunned when ‘Rudebox’ had him lost in delusions of grandeur.
What he’d forgotten is that tortoise always trumps hare, and Gary Barlow was the former.
Williams snaked his way back in though, and I was pissed about it, until it became obvious that he was a pity lay; the rest of the group seemingly ‘letting the simpleton play’, to be nice.
They’ve killed Robbie Williams with kindness, helping out a washed up pop star who will never be loved enough.
‘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, like the sadface rave of The Knife or Crystal Castles. Annoyingly
When ‘Power Out’ is played, it explodes through the speakers with intensity, before it’s seamlessly
mixed into the pulsating and rousing bass lines of ‘Rebellion (Lies)’.
When you can predict the encore of a band, and in what order they are going to do them in,
it certainly suggests that there is now a fairly expectant template to their shows;
fortunately Arcade Fire do it with such relentless energy, erupting intensity and immaculate delivery that it’s rarely anything other than utterly beguiling.
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