I first heard Laetitia Sadier's new album, ‘Silencio’, when browsing in a Manchester Record Shop a couple of months back and was suitably impressed enough to buy it a few weeks later. I already knew she was the singer in Stereolab, a band that somehow (and probably criminally) have slipped under my musical radar, and French, but that is about it, so tonight's gig is a little bit of a trip into the unknown.

Thankfully, from a recognition point of view, the set is heavy on songs from ‘Silencio’, but the downside is that, whilst Sadier sings beautifully and plays her guitar in a gently under-stated fashion and her musical cohorts on bass and drums are equally talented, the songs don't readily translate from the subtle background music of the album to the cut and thrust of the live arena in a city at the start of winter. In a cafe on the outskirts of Nice, sipping wine as the autumn sun slowly sets fire to the sea would be a different experience altogether.

Opening track ‘The Rule of the Game’ is a bold start that only comes to life in the pure beat pop of its instrumental outro, while elsewhere in the set the politically forthright ‘Auscultation to the Natio’" is surprisingly catchy given it's weighty subject matter.

Sadier mentions that they haven't rehearsed any Stereolab songs, but the modest audience don't react with the disappointment she is expecting, and even when she introduces ‘Next Time You See Me’as a song co-written by Tim Gane (one of her musical partners in Stereolab) there is only muted recognition.

‘Between Earth and Heaven’ and ‘Find Me the Pulse of the Universe’ are also decent tracks, but sadly the set is all a little samey. The fireworks are still erupting in the Manchester sky as I make my way home. Maybe a couple were missing from the show.

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Commenting On: Deaf Institute, Manchester, 5/11/2012 - Laetitia Sadier

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