Pop preview: There must be some fine mix-up
Tuesday 11 November 1997
Tonight - Dec 15th
You could be easily fooled into thinking that Echobelly learned their trade through backing every Brit Pop band: the five-piece group experiment with the vocal range of Bjork, bitter lyrics with double edged "phoenix from the flames" optimism a la Alanis Morisette, Oasis guitar licks and lulls and Verve-like majestic orchestration. Only the fool will be surprised that this combination produces a unique sound.
Lead singer, Sonya Aurora Madan, has dominated the public image of Echobelly. The music press have been quick to categorise, calling on the influence of the "sisterhood of rockers" - Janis Joplin, Marianne Faithful, Cher and Debbie Harry - and of course Sonya's contemporaries to explain her away.
Fortunately for Echobelly, they are good enough to survive the image based, media-bite curse. Their lyrics are uncompromising. Take "Pantyhose and Roses", which discusses Tory MP's Stephen Milligan's death: "He keeps his fingernails neat / He cleans the car once a week / But every night... He longs for pantyhose and roses".
Their success is similarly without concession - two Top 10 albums, sell- out tours, recording offers from Madonna's Maverick label and Brit Awards nominations. Sonya, righteously, has been voted one of the top three singers in the world by Rolling Stone, America's rock music bible and they are firmly on the bandwagon with a British flag on the side.
If their concerts are anything like their music, then you can expect some strange, twisted dancing and self-absorbed meanderings, only interrupted by the odd burst of thrashing.With all their musical influences, there should be something good for all.
Tour begins tonight at Norwich UEA. Tickets at pounds 8.50 (except London pounds 9.50), available from the usual outlets. Their third LP is released today. `Lustra' is available on Epic Records.
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