LIVE: Florrie, HMV’s Next Big Thing, Barfly Camden, UK

by Couch Sessions

Pop. Out. My. Ears. #yes

The Siren: Florrie Arnold

The Scene: Snow, ice, pints, and Summer Nights… on the outside: London’s first snow of the year, on the inside: the strobed sublime of HMV’s Next Big Thing – snowballs and disco balls make for a splendid sonic nightcap. Roughly speaking, Barfly hosted a beautiful melange of art gallery purveyor types, thirty-something Euro/Dance Pop aficionados, twenty-something knit hooded hipsters, Camden characters, low-key Diesel-and-cardigan donning Pop fiends, raven-haired East London teens… moustaches, brown leather satchels and black rimmed glasses, cocktail dresses, red lipstick and suede heels, scarves and sailor stripes… On the floor: an Anglophilic audience with a distinct taste for Xenomania; at the helm: a doe-eyed, denim-donning neo-disco diamond in the rough behind a pulsing pokerface bluff, and the beat of her own drum #litrally

The Sound: All the best bits of Brit-and-Synth-Pop – period. Much like a fine wine, or the Fugees break-up, Florrie’s stint as an unsigned artist yields a product that gets better with time. Saturday’s set list covered her relatively brief back solo catalogue, spanning both her Introduction (“Left too Late,” “Summer Nights,” “Give Me Your Love“) and Experiments (“Begging Me,” “I Took A Little Something,” “Experimenting with Rugs,” “What You Doing This For”) EPs, and throwing some new tracks in the mix (“Without A Trace,” “Go“).

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The set played through much like her sound as a whole: begin with a saccharin ephemeral shell, ease into the groove, layer cake the synth progression, pull in the listener with a smooth bassline midway through the first half, sidechain that bass into a boom, crescendo to a crest through vocals ebbing, fading, and flowing – pause, suspend, peak, drift, beat drop, close on the sub climax. When you’ve got that in your headphones: it’s fine; when you’ve got that in subs and a small sea of people – it gets real. Studio cuts are real as is, live though… said system becomes something of a surreal situation.

It’s that “all the best bits of Brit-and-Synth Pop” sound. It’s the brilliant, cool detachment of lyric and demeanor against the visceral basslines and primal percussion… its the snowball and the discoball. It’s the rhythmic subtle soul of the Spice Girls, a touch of the ska to synth evolution of Lily Allen, the breathy vocals coasting over multi-layered synth and string progression of Goldfrapp, of course it’s the Xenomaniacal essence of Girls Aloud, The Saturdays and The Pet Shop Boys, as much as it is the aspirational tandem in concept and instrumentation of true Dance music, the kaleidoscopic swelter, the endless beat of the night fueling Disco, it’s the devil-lays-there attention to diamond precise production, it’s the effortless fusion of live and synthesized, of not distinct genres, but just good, well-crafted music from the ground up – and then, to polish it with a Pop veneer. Yet and still, it’s all signature. It’s all the best bits of, not Stateside Bubblegum, but British Green & Black’s Pop – still sweet, but a bit richer, a bit more organic, a bit more naturally eargasmic Pop.

So, there’s that… here, live – and in living color.

Watch This Space: When HMV says “Next Big Thing,” it triggers a kneejerk “remember when Samantha Mumba and BBMak were the ‘next big thing?'” This though, triggered “I remember when I thought Lady GaGa was Ladyhawke and nixed Fame Ball… I remember when I got sold out of the Lily Allen show the day after her SNL gig… I remember when I was too young to go to the Spice Girls concert…” #ataleoftwotypesofbigthings

Call. 9. 1. 1. #shesontherun