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Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Buzzin' Music / Giorgio Tuma and Space Escapade review

Elefant Records release albums from the pick of European Pop

Vic Templar - Sunday 26.06.11, 09:21am

Giorgio Tuma - In The Morning We’ll Meet

Giorgio Tuma - In The Morning We’ll Meet

Giorgio Tuma – In The Morning We’ll Meet

Two years on from his amazing debut (My Vocalese Fun Fair) Italian pop genius Giorgio Tuma unveils his 16-track follow up on his Spanish label with songs in English.

Apologies, I’m writing like you’re in on the secret, but I get the feeling you’re not. Not for much longer, however, for I am about to induct you into the Giorgio Tuma fan club. What can I say? That he’s the biggest talent to emerge in sun-drenched pop since Brian Wilson, John Phillips, Burt Bacharach or Herb Alpert last wrote a decent tune?

Maybe I’m building him up too much? Maybe you should just take a listen in front of a mirror so you can watch your jaw slacken with wonder that someone is still out there writing delicious gentle melodic pop with orchestral arrangements and vocal harmonies that would have done Mr Bacharach & Mr David proud.

One listen is enough to sense that In The Morning We’ll Meet is every bit as good as the debut. Half-a-dozen listens, however, fail to throw up an absolute stand-out in the way that ‘Let’s Make the Stevens Cake’ or ‘Astroland by Bus’ leapt out of the debut. A criticism of sorts, but it all holds together as a coherent wistful work of aural art, just even more languid, ethereal and beautiful that the previous disc.

I’ll go for ‘An Enchanting Blue’ or ‘Oh Marc, Please, Let me Fly with my LV’ with its dreamy trumpet or ‘Innocenza Cetra’ and its gorgeous violins as the highlights. Timeless.

Very few labels can dare claim that they define a sound; Sun, Tamla-Motown, Stax, 2-Tone and Postcard form an elite crew. The good people at Elefant HQ in Madrid are building a damn good case for membership.

Various Artists – Space Escapade Unit 1 Destination: Pluto Sector 68 (Aventura Espacial)

Space Escapade Unit 1 is the latest of several pop picnics from their overflowing basket. Scouring Europe for the best in pop talent, an ability to commit sunshine to vinyl/tape would appear the common denominator whether the medium is power pop, shoe gaze, C86, Eurodisco or boy-girl Mamas & Papas-style pop. You’ll notice I keep using that word beginning with P. There’s no other word that’ll do. Elefant do Pop and do it very well.

I can’t pretend that I love it all; it’s just that the overall standard is very high. There will be several for you among the 44 track double-disc. I’ll take ‘Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken’ by Camera Obscura (though would happily do without their cover of ‘Super Trouper’). Similarly, I really don’t care for the Eurodisco opener from La Casa Azul, but their ‘Bad Guys’, featuring Duglas T. Stewart on disc 2 is pretty dandy.

Fitness Forever (another group who made a great 2009 debut album), The School, Modular, The Carrots (a la Billie Davis – nice!), Serpentina, Nick Garrie, Ibon Errazkin, Les Tres Bien Ensemble and, of course, the assured sounds of Giorgio Tuma all grace the collection.

If none of those names mean anything to you, think of them as cousins of Broadcast, Air, Saint Etienne or Belle & Sebastian; nieces and nephews of the aforementioned 1960s chaps and chapesses.

It is worth mentioning too that all Elefant discs, in my experience, are beautifully designed and packaged. It’s important; it shows they care. Pretty delightful.

For more informatioon visit the Elefant records website.

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