Julian & Marina
29 August 2013
It is hard not to fall in love with Julian & Marina. Watching the electro-crooner duo from Stockholm perform is a little like being with Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg in 1960s Rome, but in colour and with a sleek synthesized soundtrack. They are stylish, cool and refined, and clearly enjoying themselves as they play a set of original songs and selected covers. Later in the Electronic Summer festival, the stage will be claimed by hard-edged futurepop and EBM bands, but for now they own it completely.
Julian is Mr Brandt, latterly the bass player for Lustans Lakejer. Marina is Ms Schiptjenko, still of Page and formerly with Vacuum and BWO. They were brought together by their shared love of old-school Pet Shop Boys and Duran Duran, and it is these influences which come out most strongly. The ghost of a younger Neil Tennant is present in songs like Count the Stars, and the smooth sounds of The Moon and the Stars do a lot to restore romance to electronic music.
Lee Hazlewood and Irving Berlin make appearances, as songwriters, but Julian & Marina’s own material is just as slick. Brandt handles vocal duties with a winning and infectious style, while Schiptjenko’s keyboard work is accomplished and refined. The baton of the early Pet Shop Boys has been picked up, dusted off and given a make-over by these Swedes, who will take your heart, as well.