Les Dogs D'Amour

Being ditched isn’t something that people usually choose to share; if anyone’s willing to listen that is. In particular, you would assume that Louis Eliot, Rialto’s reticent lead singer - who cannot even bear to look you in the eye - would rather retreat into the bottom of his shell. But instead, he translates rejection into a series of poignant sagas, the bulk of which make up their eponymously titled debut album. Rialto’s latest offering, “Monday Morning 5:19”, tells the story of the paranoia derived of an absent lover. “It’s about your imagination running wild when you’re obsessed with somebody. I think everybody’s had that happen to them,” Louis smiles.

Some of you may recognise Louis and guitarist Jonny Bull. They comprised half of the effervescent indie rockers, Kinky Machine. After disbanding back in 1995, Louis and Jonny continued working together as songwriter and producer, formulating the core of Rialto’s debut album in the latter’s bedroom studio. When speaking to Louis, it is difficult to remember him as the shouty, strutty Mick Jagger-esque mouth of Kinky Machine. Rialto seem to be a far better depiction of his character - sophisticated and sensitive but nonetheless shady, with a cinematic shiver to their sound. When asked if this transformation from shaggy haired retro singer to shirt-and-tie adorned hipster has anything to do with age, Louis manages an insulted smirk. “It might have been a delayed adolescence that I was having in Kinky Machine”, he concedes. “It was quite loud and angry. I still feel the same way but I’ve just got a different way of expressing it. I’ve grown and progressed since then. I think it’s good to change.”

Rialto have some banging classics hanging in the wardrobe but remain reluctant to unveil them too quickly. “We haven’t been hyped and I think that’s a good thing,” Louis decides. “It’s better for things to build up gradually and that’s exactly what’s happening at the moment.” Their first two singles, “Skyscraper” and “When We’re Together”, were relatively low key releases and the penultimate, “Untouchable”, failed to receive the attention it deserved. However, as a result of extensive touring and the completion of a month long residency at the Rheingold Club, the live shows are filling out and the vibe is gathering pace. And even if “Monday Morning 5:19” fails to do the business, Rialto have a beautiful weapon ready and waiting in the form of their best track, The Underdogs. Ringing with timeless echoes, it is so uplifting that, by the third refrain, you will be reaching for the stars in the sky. Louis cheerfully refers to it as his ‘rallying cry for the disenfranchised. I’m not afraid to be melodramatic because I don’t think there’s enough narrative in songs,” he declares. “So many bands at the moment seem to be inflicted with a kind of rock’n’roll bulimia where they just chew up and spit out the same musical and lyrical influences. I like songs that mean something. I write songs which are personal with a universal appeal.” Try thinking of the romantic black and white movie as opposed to the action packed thriller, or putting the After Eight Mint before the Kit Kat, and you’ll understand just how classy Rialto can make pop music sound.

Monday Morning 5:19 is released October 27th

Anita Liu

Photo: Nick West

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