Since their inception in 2014, Melbournian synth pop duo GL have taken the country by storm with their seductive mish mash of disco, electro-funk and soul. Touch (released under indie label Plastic World) is the second offering under the moniker of GL for Graeme Pogson (G) and Ella Thompson (L), and offers a shimmering homage to the best (and worst) parts of the 1980’s. With "glowing synths, gritty drum machines, and stratospheric vocals", Touch combines an affinity for vintage synthesizers and vocal hooks infused with slick production into a work that is simultaneously nostalgic yet modern sounding, making the record a trip down memory lane for anyone who has a guilty pleasure for a bit of classic 80’s cheese (think Prince circa Purple Rain era). On the back of this release the Australian music scene has seen GL launch on a nation wide tour, concluding in Sydney’s vibrant heart of the weird, whacky and wonderful – Newtown.
On a bustling Saturday night, the gig opens with psych-infused electronica duo Venus II with Ryan Grieves and Jarrad Brown, who – interestingly enough – also plays with Ella on the side in their band the Dorsal Fins (small world, huh). Next up is Sydney locals The Goods who mesmerize the audience into a disorienting funky haze with their uber-cool concoction of hip hop, electronica and synth pop.
When headliners GL take to the stage, it’s clear that these guys mean business. Pogson looks effortlessly cool whilst front woman El dons quite possibly the coolest jacket I have ever seen – a shimmering pink metallic number, with tassels to boot. Tracks like ‘Number One’ showcase Graeme’s flair for creating gyrating beats whilst vocals effortlessly soar above. Slower tracks like ‘Fall For You’ highlight a more intimate, vulnerable side to the duo as El’s soulful, mesmeric vocals lament the highs and lows of love, lust and romance. An effortlessly sexy ‘Good Grip’ features a sensual El cooing ‘good grip’ over a booty-shakin’ disco keyboard line and cowbells. And finally, ‘Hallucinate’ features an absolute banger of a bass line that makes it difficult for even the most adamant corner-dwellers to resist a bit of a boogie.
The revivalists are not shy to comparison of 80s pop, and luckily their music evokes similarities to the very best – Madonna, Prince, Cyndi Lauper, you name it. It’s clear that their sound isn’t for everyone – I know some people (a.k.a my mum) who have lived through the 80s and are still trying their hardest to block it out – but love or hate their music you cannot deny that GL’s homage to the era is irresistible, sensual and down right groovy. What’s more – it’s here to stay.
Reviewer: Nicole Munnelly