sun 21/04/2024

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, The Lexington review - forceful Mexicans generate an irresistible sonic whirlpool | reviews, news & interviews

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, The Lexington review - forceful Mexicans generate an irresistible sonic whirlpool

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, The Lexington review - forceful Mexicans generate an irresistible sonic whirlpool

Where shoegazing goes when it incorporates the power of heavy metal

The core duo of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete: Alberto González and Lorena QuintanillaFernando A. de la Rosa

Can there be too much repetition? Is there a limit to the level of rhythmic insistence which can be tolerated? Judging by the enthused reaction to this sold-out show from Mexico’s Lorelle Meets The Obsolete where a heads down, no-nonsense pulse propelled their set, the answer to these questions is no.

Central to this display of musical determination are drummer Andrea Davì and bassist Fernando Nuti. Both are Italian. Neither are full-time members of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete though each has played on their records, including this year’s Datura album. Whack, whack, whack goes Davì. Thump, thump, thump goes Nuti. Locking together, it approximates a heavy metal take on the motorik of Krautrock stars Harmonia and Neu!

It was instantly clear the studio and live experiences of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete were different

Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are however the core duo of Alberto González and Lorena Quintanilla. He is “the Obsolete,” she is “Lorelle.” The live iteration of the band is the four piece on stage here. Both mainstays play guitar and assorted keyboards and synthesisers, swapping between them. For part of the set, they both play guitar.

Datura caught a different Lorelle Meets The Obsolete to previously. On their five earlier albums, their psychedelic-leaning shoegazing encompassed freak-out maelstroms and the relentlessness of Spacemen 3. This time, the edges were harder – Datura’s 2019 predecessor De Facto had been their toughest album so far – and there were fewer digressions into a squalling hubbub. A kinship was suggested with the contrasting dynamics embraced by Low.

Although “Datura” the song opened the set, as it had the album, it was instantly clear the studio and live experiences were different. This was the musical marker immediately laid down: that the full-bore rhythm-section framework reinforces everything. When, three songs in, Datura’s “Invisible” is played, the sigur rós-like beauty of the album version is supplemented by a forward motion which, it’s soon clear, is unstoppable. Next up “Líneas en hojas,” originally heard on De Facto, confirms it. Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are going for maximum impact.

During the encore, there are intimations of Hawkwind's 'Space Ritual'

Their hour-long set exerts a stronger-and-stronger pull, similar to being sucked into a whirlpool. While at their keyboards and synthesisers, González and Quintanilla add texture rather than melody lines. On guitar, González is the choppier rhythm player and the less controlled of the two. But when they together embrace feedback, it’s into the territory of “Death Valley ’69” Sonic Youth. Moments imply a familiarity with US Sixties experimentalists The United States Of America or the UK’s Broadcast. “La distinción,” from their 2016 album Balance, has the odd echo of Magazine’s “Feed the Enemy.” During the encore, there are intimations of Hawkwind's Space Ritual.

There is also a correspondingly non-explicit political element. Up to Balance, their lyrics were in, or mostly in, English. For De Facto and Datura, it’s Spanish. The decision to embrace the non-Anglophone was made as a result of friction at the border with the USA. Nonetheless, the set and encore did include the English-language (and older) songs “Art for Free,” “The Sound of all Things” and “What's Holding You?”

As self-contradictory as it seems, this show is a considered demonstration of where Lorelle Meets The Obsolete are now. Yes, it’s about impact, power and surrendering to being in the moment. But it is also about constraining the force generated; analogous to when a spring is coiled. A difficult balance to strike, but it’s achieved with astonishing – and elegant – aplomb.

@MrKieronTyler

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