Florrie + The Light Cascades @ Birmingham Academy 3, 13th May 2011


Brum based, Electro-Popsters, The Light Cascades (delicious name) have an unashamedly, endearing, retro 80s jingly, jangle girl/boy harmony vocal synth-pop driven innocence that draws on a flamboyant celebration of influences such as The Stone Roses, Human League and The Cure. Singer, Tom Alexander’s voice certainly has more than a reminiscence of Robert Smith’s aching vulnerability, no more so demonstrated with their closing cover of ‘Pictures of You’ which I suggest they avoid because they certainly don’t need the drag of being labeled a tribute band.)

As of course, Polonius agrees with in observing: ‘To thine own self be true…Thou canst not then be false to any man.’ They won’t trouble the pop charts just yet. Nevertheless, their bubbling optimism, inventive dynamic and engaging charisma suggests promising work-in-progress. And they use a vocoder through a Korg, which of course explains everything ( if you don’t get out much). A band sneakily blipping on my radar. Refreshingly uplifting.

Setlist: The Cure (hmm, see what I mean?) Lose Control, So Believe, Smile, Flights, Picture of You(!)


Given the choice of being strapped in to a dentist chair and have Simon Cowell force me to grind silver foil between my teeth-fillings whist he whispers in my ear, ‘Call Me The Chosen One and have my babies.’ or, spend an evening listening to sanitised, cruise-liner kitsch Euro beat bland disco pop, I was hard pushed. However, I did, of my own free-will, opt for the latter. And, though feeling that my psyche had been mugged by an anodyne, synth-soaked triumph of programmed form over substance, it had to be conceded that Ms. Florrie, and her formidable set of musicians, shrewdly exploited the genre to excess with irony-free dazzling panache.


And therein lies its simplistic brilliance. Its ephemera sets it free from any obligations to aspire to anything other than what it is. Wearing ‘that little black dress thing’ with lace shoulder motif, tight blonde hair bun that accentuated her aesthete jaw line and vampire snogged glossy red lipstick she certainly cuts a demure swathe of celebrity allure set against the cat-walk conventions of size zero waif beauty chic. One or two numbers distinguished themselves such as ‘She Always Get’ that had an engaging Bo Diddly intro that segued into a Tex Mex swing, together with ‘Summer Nights’ whose funky rap disco had nuances of Kylie and The Bee Gees. Evidence of a well spent youth.

The material may not lend many opportunities to flex her vocal registers but, with some effects fairy dust twinkling in the mix, we could hear subtle (and not so subtle) references to The Cocteau’s Liz Fraser and Harrriet Wheeler from The Sundays. Worthy role models indeed. Occasionally some cheeky phrases of KC & The Sunshine Band would pop out and no bad thing either.


It was unfortunate that, her being center-stage for the most part, a lighting deficiency meant she was seriously under-lit which should have been, ahem, spotted earlier in the evening. Even more so, for the photographers: it made the three songs, no flash rule incredibly frustrating given such a photogenic subject. On reflection, one begins to admirably suspect there’s a shrewdly attuned intelligence at work with this young artist who knows exactly what she’s doing. Sadly, the venue was less than half-full and mostly male at that, so no dancing of course. Shame that, because Florrie’s pulsating beat grooves needs young people to put on their sailing shoes and dance the night away. I suspect it’s only a matter of time.

Setlist: Panic attack, Call of the wild, Left too late, Begging me, Give me your love, Summer Nights, I took a little something, She always gets, Speed of light, Call911.

Review – John Kennedy
Photos – Ian Dunn

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