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Live Review: George Michelle strikes a fine balance on 'Real Love'

18 December 2018 | 10:20 am | Michael Stratford Hutch

GEORGE MICHELLE has returned with new single ‘Real Love’, rounding out 2018 with another high energy club rework, this time of Jennifer Hudson’s 2008 track ‘Spotlight.’

As a member of post-punk band Death Bells and a founding member of Sydney-based label Burning Rose, Michelle (aka Maurice Santiago) has steadily made a name for himself through an iconoclastic and intriguing blend of progressive house, garage, and industrial sounds.

Michelle displays his own distinct style in taking these established palettes and applying them to the pop songs of bygone decades, such as in July’s 'Watchin’ Me,' Michelle’s debut single for electronic indie label etcetc, to which he signed earlier this year. These unapologetically tongue-in-cheek reworks and acappella flips gesture towards earlier movements within sampling, and more recently the endless arms race of quasi-memetic remixes dominating Soundcloud.

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‘Real Love’ is a an out-and-out house burner, and while the elements that constitute it are simple enough, Michelle’s deft arrangement keeps things interesting and effective. Crisp drums, euphoric pads, percussive piano stabs, and soaring synths in the post-chorus all underscore an inventive usage of Hudson’s original vocals.

It’s easy to imagine ‘Real Love’ cropping up in any number of DJ sets very soon—its anthemic qualities are strong enough to really draw the listener in, but not so overt as to be borderline schmaltz. It’s a fine balance that Michelle is striking, and a damn danceable one at that.

Photo by Tracy Nguyen