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Alexis Georgopoulos, aka Arp, goes off on a bit of a tangent with his latest album on Smalltown Supersound, moving from synthesizer based and largely instrumental work into a full-blown pop collection. He has a soft lilting voice which reminds me a little of Sufjan Stevens, while the pop he crafts has a strangely folky neo-baroque feel varying from flutes and harpsichords and to synths and brass which sometimes brings to mind the Talking Heads, Robert Wyatt, other times even Scott Walker, while instrumental centrepiece ‘Gravity (for Charlemagne Palestine)’ even pairs the hypnotic New York minimalism of Philip Glass with sweeping violins and simple wah guitar.
It’s a fascinating record that I’d love to tell you more about but I have a lot to review today. A first listen indicates there’s a lot of goodness to be found here once you unscramble the hotchpotch framework of borrowed ideas around which the album is draped like a weird lumpy tent. It's excellent but sometimes has that Brodericky problem of being very pretty but a little too keen on appearing knowing and highbrow for my taste. But then I've always been one of those people who prefers bands the other way around - trashy and messed up with just the occasional reassuring hint that they know exactly what they're doing, and it's when Georgopoulos gives in to his primitivist instincts like in the aforementioned 'Gravity' and Man Or Astro-man-esque closer 'Persuasion' that I'm most convinced. This is certainly a meticulously crafted lump of adult-oriented pop, whichever way you slice it.
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