Ever wondered what it would sound like if LCD Soundsystem collaborated with the Talking Heads?
Well Total Giovanni have you covered and so much more. Lovers, fighters, artists and disco-dance princes, the Melbourne five-piece are reimagining the naive disco-era with contemporary production techniques, house beats and a dash of underlying cynicism.
After releasing the long awaited 12 track album Euphoria, the band have set their sights on an Australian tour. I was lucky enough to witness the spectacle of their live show, marked by smooth disco dance grooves, green jumpsuits and outstanding showmanship.
They go by many names including Frankie Topaz, Spike Punch, Cavallo Nero, Credenza Ford and Pistachio Buttercup but to peel away the performative mystique; Total Giovanni is made up of frontman, guitarist, vocalist and synth player extraordinaire Vachel Spirason, Julian Rawendra on synth and drums, Dave Reidy on bass, Matthew Hadley playing guitar and synth, and Joe Charles on drums.
As for their performance, the Melbourne troop were met by avid fans who knew every word on the album. These fans were quickly lured into a hypnotic groove as the Oxford Art Factory floor was transported into a disco dance wonderland.
As old friends, the band had great on-stage chemistry with each other, smiling and dancing along as they kept the crowd moving. What makes Total Giovanni stand out to me isn’t just the great production and ridiculously catchy songwriting – it’s the refreshing contrast between comedy and tragedy.
Songs like Human Animal are laced with the crushing reality of the mundane existence but when packaged in a disco house-pop tune it makes that reality much more acceptable almost comforting.
The band gets to have their cake and eat it too as the project is simultaneously a great tongue in cheek take on the euro-disco era, whilst being able to effectively convey contemporary and visceral feelings of alienation and apathy.
Both recorded on the album and live, Total Giovanni on tour offer a unique sound and aesthetic that is supremely polished to a degree that exceeds their current notoriety. And it’s this that has me hoping that this album and tour will propel them into the international spotlight.