Orwell is pretty much solely Jérome Didelot, a resident of Metz, the capital of the Lorraine in north-east France. Others pass though the line up – including Cascadeur
– but Didelot is Orwell and his fourth album takes unexpected turns.
His last album, 2009’s Le Génie Humain,conjured a baroque world reflecting an immersion in late Zombies, Beach Boys and John Barry, with a songwriting sensibility that matched Tahiti 80 at their most ageless. That warm-sounding album had an acoustic, spaciousness, like the music Didelot obviously loves. Continental, though, is subtly suffused with 70s-style electronics, with washes of synth, rhythmic stabs, blippy drum machines and Kraftwerk/Cluster-style keyboard sequences. His writing remains classy, and songs like the dreamy, ba-ba-ba and string-infused 'Lonely Ride' more than match his influences. These new instrumental elements bring more depth rather than making Continental a machine pop album, as with The Monkees on 'Daily Nightly'.
Whatever the tools, Continental is a sensitive album, stuffed with classically-inclined pop. It may be a little sugary for 50 minutes-worth and doesn’t stray far from a self-determined comfort zone, but it's impossible not to succumb to aural swoons like the pulsing 'Always' and the Another Green World-esque instrumental 'Secret Movies'. Tahiti 80 have moved in a harder direction and with material still awaited from Fugu, Didelot has a wide-open field in France.
© Kieron Tyler