sat 15/08/2020

Carly Rae Jepsen, Brixton Academy review - punchy, polished pop | reviews, news & interviews

Carly Rae Jepsen, Brixton Academy review - punchy, polished pop

Carly Rae Jepsen, Brixton Academy review - punchy, polished pop

Sugary yet substantial music from Canadian pop princess

Carly Rae JepsenNatalie Onmoore

Few will forget back in 2012, when Canadian singer Carly Rae Jepsen came crashing into the airwaves of pretty much every pop station on the planet, with the sugary synth-pop sounds of Call Me Maybe. With a track as big as that – even Jepsen herself has said she was sick of hearing it on the radio – it would have been easy to assign the singer to one-hit-wonder status. Instead, Jepsen has released a steady stream of highly credible pop music, proving herself to be musician first, celebrity second, building up a serious and loyal fan base. Her return to the UK saw her playing a far bigger London gig than her intimate performance at XOYO in May 2019. In fact, the original venue for the London leg of her tour – the Roundhouse – sold out so quickly the concert was relocated to the almost 5,000 capacity Brixton Academy

Jepsen’s a real high-octane performer. She bounced round the stage like a rocket, exuding a warm, fun energy from every pore, all the time keeping impeccable vocal control. During her pumped-up performance of the track "Too Much", the band are suddenly all wearing platinum blonde bobbed wigs à la Jepsen’s latest ‘do, presumably a nod to the video, which features multiple Carlies having a sort of paint-throwing food-fight/tea party and generally just being extra. “Is this too much?!” she shouts to the crowd. It’s not. Jepsen and her band’s maximalist approach to their full-on, unashamedly fun music-making buoyed the crowd to near elation. 

Jepsen’s latest single, "Let’s Be Friends", is a catchy tune with only slightly bitchy lyrics relating to the art of friend-zoning ("Let’s be friends/And never speak again") but it’s so sweet and bouncy that whoever’s on the receiving end couldn’t stay mad for long.

Supporting was Georgia, a former session drummer who’s worked with the likes of Kate Tempest, Kwes and Micachu. She sat behind a mightily impressive kit, yet curiously several of the instruments remained untouched throughout her set. She mentioned something on stage about having an arm injury, and sadly the main thing lending credulity to her accomplishments as a percussionist was an inability to play along convincingly to a backing track. Had she been on full form her performance, I’m sure, would have been impressive. Her dark blend of synth-heavy, 80s tinged dance-pop is earthy and exciting, although sadly on this particular night she was a tad obscured by the array of redundant instruments.

Jepsen and her band’s maximalist approach to their full-on, unashamedly fun music-making buoyed the crowd to near elation

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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