When Geoffrey O’Connor launches a solo album, one that is called ‘elaborate and personal’, you better sit up and take notice. Vanity Is Forever, brand new, is now available through Chapter Music. You should listen to it. Or really, you should have been at the Northcote Social Club on Friday night.
He’s traveled the world with his highly respected bands Crayon Fields and Sly Hats, played alongside Fleet Foxes and Jens Lekman, and at iconic events like SXSW and CMJ Showcase. What else is there to do but to release a dreamy, vaguely provocative album, awash in lasers and smoke machines? Pretty impressive stuff.
Evelyn Ida Morris (of Pikelet, another Chapter Music gem) opened the night with her ethereal brand of subtle electronic music, a sort of hybrid between a non-operatic Zola Jesus and psychedelic pink mushroom clouds. Paired with some stellar visual art, this was a perfect way to start the night. She was followed by Forces, who have completely mastered the ‘80s industrial techno/video game soundtrack sound, radical dance moves, and white hexagonal drum pads. An awesome sight. Next up were Super Wild Horses, who were achingly cool, playing their guitars and drums the way girls should. With confidence and modesty, and there were probably a few girls in the crowd dying in awe.
After a very intense build-up, those velvet curtains parted to reveal a revolving laser, something Crayon Fields/Sly Hats fans probably weren’t expecting, but as soon as the first song, ‘Proud’ played, you knew it suited it perfectly. This isn’t Crayon Fields. This isn’t Sly Hats. This isn’t something that’s part of a trend or a movement. It’s probably something that’s been playing on Geoffrey O’Connor’s mind for a little while, and he made it into something different and beautiful.
On stage with Esther Edqvist from Northlands, and Bjenny Montero, it was seamless performance. With Geoffrey moving into the corner and various edges of the venue, unleashing his dry wit on to the crowd, and dedicating songs to various friends, it made for a very personal show. You can’t help but feel involved. Before they played ‘Things I Shouldn’t Do’, they gathered around the keyboard discussing why Montero actually didn’t want to play it, and would take charge of the smoke machines instead.
And that was cool, that’s what happens at a Geoffrey O’Connor show. It’s endearing and kind of hilarious. And when he encored with ‘Expensive’, it was stunning. This album will do very well. Every single track is impeccably put together, while remaining effortless and innocent.
– Zahra Khamissa