I listened to The Correspondents’ first album Puppet Loosely Strung again recently so I could try describe what they sound like. It is something like a flamboyant Broadway actor bemoaning a failed love affair in an empty portion of the London Underground. The songs start out like retro swing only to twist out into snare-heavy electropop, while the singer cradles and contorts the line between melancholy and satisfying whininess. It was theatrical, camp, and over-the-top and jazzy, in all the right ways.
That being said, it would be impossible to fully appreciate a band as purposefully strange visually as The Correspondents without seeing them live. The electro-swing/hip-hop duo, along with acclaimed breakbeat musician Krafty Kuts, will be performing at the Exeter Phoenix on 2nd December. Their previous performances have received rave reviews, “Every time I think I’ve deduced what they sound like they start sounding like something different”, said BBC Radio 6’s Steve Lamaq. “Bundles of fun, and the surprise success of Wilderness Festival 2017”, said The Times.
The band was formed in 2007 by frontman Mr. Bruce— described as having “great voice and quite frankly, unparalleled dance moves” (Vibrations) and being “a mix between a mad scientist and the kind of clown that could only exist in nightmares” (Sputnik Music)—and DJ Chucks. They have since become a force to be reckoned with in the electro swing scene, a “must-see act, earning world-wide acclaim for their energetic live sets” (RenownedForSound). Perhaps, because they were more well-known for their high concept and higher energy stage performances (incorporating elements like treadmills, an interpretive dance dedicated to The Excorcist etc.), they didn’t release their debut album, Puppet Loosely Strung, until 2014, six years after they released their first EP. They have, however, been releasing music videos regularly since 2011, the most famous of which is “Fear & Delight” (2013). Though simple in concept, it was masterfully executed and made use of pioneering composite camera techniques which showcase both Mr. Bruce’s spectacular dancing and his talent at pulling amazing (or terrifying) faces. The group’s more toned-down videos often contain painted animation and detailed artwork by Mr. Bruce (or “Ian Bruce (painter)”, as titled on his Wikipedia page) himself. You can find these and tasters of their live performances on their Youtube channel, https://www.youtube.com/user/correspondentsmusic/feed?disable_polymer=1.
Recently, The Correspondents have announced two exciting new projects, the first being a new album titled Foolishman, which came out on 22nd September. “[Foolishman] rediscovers their energetic multi-genre approach. Older, wiser, better looking, and less inclined to take themselves seriously, the sound they create is increasingly sophisticated and designed for the dance floor” says the ‘about’ section of the album; we can safely assume that the concert will include some of these new hits as well as fan faves from Puppet Loosely Strung. Their second announcement is the production of a Vinyl LP to celebrate their 10th anniversary! It is currently being funded on kickstarter where fans who want to support this group can donate for one-of-a-kind rewards.
Tickets to see this rad band can be purchased here: http://www.exeterphoenix.org.uk/events/the-correspondents/, for £16 each (£1 booking fee included). The show is for dancers, performance artists, and people who like the music at the Book Cover! Come along, it promises to be a wild time!
– by Jing Lau
*Image courtesy of exeterphoenix.org.uk