Live Review
RAINBOW ARABIA AT THE SHACKLEWELL ARMS
Rainbow Arabia
The Shacklewell Arms
Dalston, London
06/09/11

The faded tropical glamour of the Shacklewell Arms makes it a fitting venue for the similarly faded tropical clamour of Rainbow Arabia, the LA husband-wife duo behind two EPs of M.I.A-meets-Sublime Frequencies electro. Now touring to promote their full-length debut album ‘Boys and Diamonds’ (a slightly out-of-character release for Berlin techno label Kompakt), Danny and Tiffany Preston adopt a 1-1-1 stage formation, with the hired drummer hands providing some dynamics against the banks of programmed synths and snares.

Dressed down in a navy cardigan and Nike runners, Tiffany eschews the tribal raver aesthetic (very 2008), but if they’re so inspired by ‘world beats’ and the Middle Eastern dance music of Omar Souleyman and Co., why are they so afraid to cut loose?

Despite the cacophonous carnival stylings, some songs fall flat when man and machine don’t quite synchronise, while the preset rave whistle quickly becomes a chore on the ear. And really, is there a sadder question in popular music than “Can I have some more computer in the monitor?”? None of this would really matter if Rainbow Arabia were bringing a few stone-cold party bangers to the table, but a few hours later and the songs have slipped from my mind like Saharan sand.

By Chal Ravens

Originally published in issue 31 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. September 2011