Music Reviews
Real Life Is No Cool

Lindstrøm & Christabelle Real Life Is No Cool

(Feedelity) Buy it from Insound Rating - 7/10

On Real Life... Lindstrøm mines a rich seam of old funk, soul and disco, taking these ingredients and producing a brand of retro-futurist, multi-layered stomp-fest all of his own. The floating passivity of Christabelle’s seemingly improvised couplets bring a welcome level of humanity back to the field and uplifts by means of raw emotional connection, rather than one repeated-to-death motif.

This Scandinavian sound has been spearheaded by the likes of Prins Thomas and Morgan Geist, culminating in the runaway success of their take-over of the Big Chill’s Club tent a couple of year ago. After releasing some storming 12”’s and becoming a sought-after remixer in his own right on Oslo’s Smalltown Supersound compilations, Lindstrom himself first broke through to wider acclaim with his debut It’s A Feedelity Affair. He finally followed this last year with the epic mini-album Where You Go I Go Too which refined and built upon his trademark atmospherics to beguiling effect, appearing in many critic’s ‘Best Of 2009’ lists. All of which has a certain bearing on the level of expectation around this full length collaboration with fellow Norwegian, Christabelle.

So does it hit the mark? From the off it’s all bit of a mystery, as broken, reversed vocals are twisted and contorted beyond recognition and from which depths emerge the beginnings of that trademark smooooth groove. It’s as if the door to their starry disco world has been unlocked and you, the lucky listener are personally invited in. A simple yet effective guitar lick completes the picture and the stage is set. For all his dancefloor credentials though, this is first and foremost a song-based affair that is as much a homage to classic disco as it is future-facing.

“What shall we do? Shall we start? Shall we start looking? Looking for what?” asks the first track, whatever it is I think they found it as the first half of the record is populated by blissfully funky anthems that stick in your head for days: see the rattling horns of Baby Can’t Stop and the laconic bopping of Let it Happen.

Midway through, the vibe slows down slightly, Let’s Practise is a little staid with Christabelle sounding rather too distant and disconnected. Maybe that was intentional but the result is that the bouncy feel established early on really falls off. “I’ve lost myself in here” sings Christabelle and I think she might be right.

So Much Fun picks things up again and evidently the ‘good times roll’’ button has been fully re-engaged. There is a palpable sense that the magic may have left by this point however. The ideas are starting to wear a little thin and the composition appears a tad repetitive and meandering. This sense of deviation culminates in Never Say Never, which is as overindulgent and unnecessary as it comes, disrupting any flow that had just been re-established. We then come to end of our journey with the minimalist, down-tempo High and Low. It’s pinky-plonky melody is pleasant enough fare and a nice way to finish the album, but with a rather large chunk of the innocence and sparkling excitement that defined the first half of the record having been lost somewhere around the latter, it all feels a bit incidental and leaves one skipping back to the start, yearning for more of those good times that seem to have rolled on out of town.

That’s not to say it’s not a very promising album taken as a whole, and its clear that the two work well together. A little more consistency in their focus and less pointlessly meandering distraction could see them produce something truly classic.