Live Review: Lorelle Meets The Obsolete, Paris, France, Oct. 26, 2016

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Arthur Rimbaud, muse to our most pretentious rock stars, challenged the poet to derail all senses and thereby arrive at a higher understanding of reality. His preferred method may have been absinthe, but were he alive today he may have favored Lorelle Meets The Obsolete.

The Mexican duo, composed of the elegant-yet-tenacious Lorena Quintanilla (Lorelle) and the scruffy-yet-subdued Alberto González (the Obsolete), delivers unto listeners this Rimbaudian epiphany. LMTO’s latest LP—the aptly titled Balance—disorients and comforts, disrupts and reveals. Armed with the kaleidoscopic range of psychedelic pop, the album triangulates the sweet spot between the gritty space rock of Chile’s Föllakzoid and the dreamy shoegaze of Russia’s Pinkshinyultrablast.

On tour, the duo expands to a quintet, and the delicately crafted recordings transform into ferocious jams. “Waves Over Shadows” and alternate take “Waves Under Shadows” could be children’s lullabies interpreted by My Bloody Valentine. A lazy synth melody wafts through a thick haze of distortion, like a toddler waddling through an active battlefield. The pendulum-swing hypnotism of the guitars on “It Must Be The Only Way” is deftly accented by Lorelle’s seductive and sweet vocals. “Sealed Scene” is a wailing space boogie concocted in a ’60s garage. Throughout the evening’s performance, every song is dreamy without being overly droney.

Psychedelia, above all other pop music sub genres, is poetry. It seeks out Baudelairean correspondences between the material and the mystical. It deploys the awkward, albatrossian glory of feedback to scramble our senses. It explores the outer fringes of human sensation and sends back vivid trip reports.

“Beneath the bush a wolf will howl,” wrote Rimbaud. “Spitting bright feathers/From his feast of fowl: Like him, I devour myself.” He could have been describing the self-destructive decadence of drug use. Or the method to the poet’s madness.

Or, just as plausibly, the psychedelic transcendence of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete.

—Eric Bensel

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