•• Hybrid @ Escape Into The Park, Singleton Park, Swansea,
14 August 2004
•• Published: SoundsXP, September 2004
•• Original article: http://www.soundsxp.com/1121.shtml

The release of 1999's 'Wide Angle' saw Hybrid announce themselves as major league dance music players of the same pedigree as big guns Underworld, Orbital and the Chemical Brothers. Using emotive strings courtesy of the Russian Federal Orchestra and garnering the vocal talents of both Julee Cruise and the Pretenders' Chrissie Hynde, they took the dance blueprint and expanded on it giving their sound a depth and warmth often absent from many electronic acts’ output.

A more stripped-down approach is evident as core members Mike Truman and Chris Healings take their live ensemble to the stage for what is their first ever gig in front of a Swansea home crowd. What we are left with are some live drums, two huge banks of synths and some live vocals while touring with Moby seems to have had its effect as 'Bodyrock' style guitars are thrown in to roughen their otherwise pleasantly polished sound around the edges.

They take the swell of suspense-filled strings, skipping breakbeats and monstrous basslines to create a crisp, elating mix of well-produced hands-up dance and brooding orchestral soundtracks. We are also treated to the unmistakable sound of Peter Hook's bass overlaid with Adam Taylor's tough, shouty vocals but the early afternoon slot they occupy takes some of the magic away from what is otherwise an uplifting, emotion-heavy performance.

The copious amount of dry ice pumped out during Hybrid's set does not quite have the same effect in the scorching sunlight as it would post-dusk and they are deserving of a much larger, evening audience. Add this to the fact the string sections are synthesised rather than live, perhaps due to the timing of their appearance or just plain logistics, and it seems clear the band are only operating at about seventy percent of their potential.

They still provide an enjoyably enlivening set, finishing with best known hit and TV favourite 'Finished Symphony', and manage to demonstrate, in spite of the many limitations placed upon them, that electronic music can be warm and human rather than cold and clinical. Next time they should be given a headline spot, guest vocalists and a forty piece orchestra and then they can truly move and inspire as they are so clearly capable of doing.

- Ian Roullier, 08/2004
Copyright © Ian Roullier 2004-2014