Leeds - Sounds (19/02/83) by Helen Fitzgerald
|Loving the deceptively
understated ambiance of the Fiat Lux single (Feels Like Winter
Again), I was anticipating this chance to sample a wider,
cross-section of their wares.
Too often, a new band can disappoint by relying on the prop of
technical sophistication to carry them through one single - even
two - and then fall flat on their faces as their lack of genuine
substance or individuality becomes apparent. But Fiat Lux won't be
included in this basket of failures ... nor anywhere near it.
This gig, recorded for the BBC, displayed them as authors of a lot
more than a one 'hit' wonder. Their material has a strong, lucid
and imaginative feel and a compulsive low-key propulsion that's
The gig proper doesn't get the smoothest of starts; the PA's head
for the first two songs and the poor lads are up there singing
away to a crowd who are boxed in by the TV cameras and trying to
look delirious, but unable to hear a thing!
But, booming back to
life, the amassed marionettes
|come alive as the band
slide into 'This Illness', the current single's b-side and a
subtle down-tempo song with spidery sub-funk overtones. It's
followed by the demanding percussive beat of 'Winter', a song with
beautiful clarity of intent, a simple lyric, fluid melody and lots
of intricate fiddly bits in the background.
Then a complete change of tactics with 'Hold Me', a riotously
funny duet with Steve and Dave crooning into the mikes in a
complete pisstake of all those Forties film soundtracks, a parody
of how 'passionate' love used to be in the good old days.
And then a dose of truly modern passion, 'Photography'. Somehow
singer/songwriter Steve (aka Sebastian ... how would you like to
live with the name Steve Wright?) translates emotion without being
twee, naivety without being gormless, Sincerity without being
insipid, and love without being wet. Ian's sax infuses this gentle
song with a stamp of something special, without being intrusive as
sax is wont to be.
Fiat Lux seem always to strike the perfect balance of fluent
simplicity, with a subtle tangent of intricacy to add spice to the
'Photography' is provisionally penned as the next single but, for
me, it's eclipsed by the last song 'Aqua Vitae You' which is again
a love song but in a vibrant and beaty mood as essential as its
name. Pumping energy and oxygen into the veins, it ends the set
with the one single emotion that Fiat Lux display up front:
<< return to reviews index