Bibio - A Mineral Love

by Rob Taylor Rating:7 Release Date:2016-04-03
There are plenty of labels for what isn’t really a musical movement. Take cock-rock. It symbolises an overtly sexual and somewhat narcissistic disposition, one that should be pilloried. Like in Spinal Tap, for instance. 
 
Yacht-rock is a similarly pejorative term, describing the soft-rock music that existed from about the mid-1970s through to the 1980s. Think Boz Scaggs, The Eagles, Steely Dan, and CSNY. Or try not to, as the case may be, but don’t try telling me you don’t have a soiled copy of Breakfast In America, or Aja, or Hotel California hidden from view, ready to be pulled out in a safe moment, like some kind of illicit porn.
 
My parents went to America when I was 13. I asked them to bring me back some vinyl, and they brought me back a copy of a Journey album. Well, I asked for it [not literally], and I decided to draw the line right there. My musical fanaticism had never been so threatened. I mean, isn’t yacht rock just AOR ( adult oriented rock) by another name ? Please, really, does becoming a mature adult have to entail these humiliations?
 
Bibio (Stephen Wilkinson) tries to find out. It’s in his nature to experiment with electronica and soft folk, so I suppose if anyone was going to pull it off, and not in a metaphorical sense, it was going to be him. That he does it with a sense of humour and a mocking charm is to his credit. ‘Feeling’ for instance sounds a lot to me like Flight of the Conchords taking the piss out of high pitched man-boy harmonies, and ‘Saint Thomas’ is like Steve Hackett’s six string prog-rock nursery rhyme excursions circa 1976 Genesis. There’s a bit of Lou Rawls here, a spray of Luther Vandross there, some Carpenters here, some Dennis Wilson there. 
 
You shouldn’t like it, but you do. It shouldn’t be on Warp Records, but it is. Is it enduring ? Well, if you can cope with the soft bossa-nova, and the occasionally saccharine voice, you’re halfway open to the possibility that mixing all this tripe with some judiciously orchestrated electronica is quite enjoyable. 
 
But then again. 

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