Geoffrey O’Connor — Fan Fiction
♦ V jeho osobnosti existuje dichotomie dramatického kontrastu. V písni: osvobozený, sebevědomý umělec, vystavující své intimní touhy, nejistoty a melancholii do světa. Osobně: zdvořilý, mluví tiše, pokorný a mírný k místu, kde se právě nachází a proto je skoro těžké uvěřit, že je to tak dynamický umělec. © Jeff Watkins
Birth name: Geoffrey David O'Connor
Also known as: Sly Hats
Occupations: Musician, producer
Instruments: Vocals, lead guitar
Location: Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Album release: August 8, 2014
Recorded: in London at Studio XXVII (Kindness, Robyn), but mostly at Geoffrey's own Vanity Lair in Melbourne.
Record Label: Chapter Music (CH 119CD)
01 Never Have You Looked So Good
02 Her Name On Every Tongue
04 I Never Cry
06 Into My Hands 3:47
07 Another Time
08 My Greatest Hit
09 Is It Really Happening Now
10 Giving It Away
11 Centre of The Room
♦ © Cover, featuring a photo by the extremely talented Darren Sylvester
By Jake Cleland; August 4, 2014; Score: 7.4
Melbourne artist Geoffrey O'Connor has attempted to distance himself from the notion of mere retromanticism in the past, but his image is a clear evocation of a particular pop cultural moment — specifically, the 1980s. He's always shrouded in dry ice and purple lights, his hair bleached blonde; on the album insert for his latest album, Fan Fiction, he's leaning coolly on a Roland synthesiser. Without knowing the first note, you can already hear the plastic click of a drum machine.
♦ Fan Fiction continues the sonic retro-futurism of his solo debut Vanity Is Forever (http://www.allmusic.com/album/vanity-is-forever-mw0002206548), as O'Connor layers chintzy, thin-sounding synths over reverberating disco guitars, guiding it all with his breathy, nasal whine. Every dazzling melody is sandwiched together, maximalist and swollen in a dizzying spectacle. Even when O'Connor slows it down, there's too much going on to feel truly settled. O'Connor counterbalances, or maybe accentuates, his dark lyrical matter with lusty 4/4 rhythms. On some tracks, like early single "Jacqueline", it's easy to mistake a sense of lyrical tragedy for a good time, but Fan Fiction's core conceit lies in asking you whether they're mutually exclusive after all.
♦ O'Connor frequently nods backwards in time, but he's also part of a contemporary moment in Australian music. Fellow Chapter acts like polymath Darren Sylvester and leather-daddies Standish/Carlyon, as well as recent Remote Control signees Client Liaison, are all gauzy embodiments of arch seduction, turbo-capitalist production, and indulgence. In the New Australian New Wave, corporate culture is mined for aesthetic value, yuppies are the new hipsters, and nihilism has been usurped by the possibility offered by wealth.
♦ But O'Connor's power moves are just the shadow cast by his burning submissiveness. It's clear that the relationships he details are built on addiction instead of trust, so Fan Fiction portrays O'Connor as helplessly willing, a wretch begging for punishment if it means at least one night with someone. "Please" finds him begging a woman to take the frustration of her failed relationship out on him, while "Another Time" is verb-heavy and overwrought, reading like erotic fiction. "My Greatest Hit" uses the triple-entendre of junkie dialect, music industry jargon, and PUA grossness to go full-on stalker, while "Into My Hands" praises O'Connor's target of obsession as the final miracle. On album closer "Centre of the Room", O'Connor swirls sex and death into destiny and gulps it down — a mortal resignation which, given the album's sequencing, seems all too appropriate.
♦ On Fan Fiction, O'Connor is drowning in his nymphomania, and the only time he kicks against the tide and shows a little agency is on "Giving It Away", in which he casts off the trappings of a previous relationship. The notion that personal heartbreak is more epic and unknowable than any heartbreak that came before it is a common delusion, but that just reinforces O'Connor's cretinism. The woman in "Her Name On Every Tongue" enraptures every boy she meets, hiding anxiety behind charisma; on "Please", a female target has been ruined by 12 years of "the same clumsy fuck."
♦ O'Connor also describes her having sex with said clumsy fuck as "playing dead", which could just as well describe all the characters on Fan Fiction. Although there are hints of personality traits that occasionally shine through, the characters detailed throughout largely seem like they've been robbed of their own lives, prisms through which O'Connor can examine those hidden impulses. And so O'Connor makes himself into the villain, or at least the antagonist, of his own work, and Fan Fiction never suggests that any of this is admirable or contemptible — it just is.
♦ Liquorice Night (by Sly Hats) (CD) (2 June 2007) Nervous Jerk Records
♦ Vanity Is Forever (CD and vinyl) (October 2011) Chapter Music
♦ "Jacqueline" (2013) Chapter Music
♦ Suave synth-pop songsmith Geoffrey O'Connor returns with his
second solo album Fan Fiction.
♦ Previously known as the frontman for euphoric pop quartet Crayon Fields, Geoffrey stepped out from behind his guitar in 2011 with the seductive noir pop of solo album Vanity Is Forever.
♦ Now Fan Fiction sees Geoffrey refine his late-night vision further, exploring obsession, desire and submission in a way that few songwriters dare. His is a musical universe filled with strong, complicated, alluring women, where every bar is dimly lit and every bed recently rumpled.
♦ Musically Fan Fiction is more upfront than Vanity Is Forever, its tempos bolder and its beats brighter. The album was partly recorded in London at Studio XXVII (Kindness, Robyn), but mostly at Geoffrey's own Vanity Lair in Melbourne. As usual, Geoffrey plays every instrument, aside from a little piano from Sparkadia's Alexander Burnett,
plus backing vocals from longterm collaborator Jessica Venables
(Jessica Says), and Gerald Wells (Montero).
♦ High energy first single Jacqueline emerged in September 2013, and was quickly followed by a visit to New York's CMJ music conference in October. May saw the release of urbane second single Her Name On Every Tongue (co-written with Burnett), with a beguiling, chameleonic video premiered on Spin.com, in which Geoffrey plays every character from an astronaut to a prison warden.
♦ Since emerging as a solo artist, Geoffrey has toured his adult contemporary disco hits through the U.S., UK and Australia, sharing stages with artists such as Grimes (CAN), Jens Lekman (SWE), Big Scary, Alpine, Edwyn Collins (SCO) and Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (U.S.). His narrative-driven songwriting is backed by a strong visual element, which he has cultivated by producing eerie video backdrops and thematically linked music videos. Expect a string of further videos to accompany choice tracks from Fan Fiction.
Press: Guy at Chapter Music — .
Agent: AUS: Mark Lackey at © Carl Timpone