After the acclaimed ‘No Shouts, No Calls’ album in 2007 and success of the accompanying tour, the band took a three year sabbatical to catch up on some of the other important things in life. Now they’re back for a short, sharp run of dates this summer, with a set drawn from their four albums over the past decade.
Formed during 1998 in the British seaside town of Brighton, Electrelane soon found they could make fantastic music without the aid of vocals and the massively ambitious debut Rock It To The Moon (2001) stands as a testament to that even now. Its majestic follow up ‘The Power Out’ (2004) managed to be more concise without losing their sense of adventure but it was with ‘Axes’ (2005) that the quartet’s experimentalism reached a natural and organic peak. Borne of improvisations, almost entirely instrumental and recorded all in one go, ‘Axes’ marked the end of Electrelane Mk 1 in an intricate body of music that most bands couldn’t emulate if they had detailed diagrams.
Whereas both the previous two albums were committed to tape at Steve Albini’s renowned Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago, the quartet decided to try something different by recording at The Key Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan this time out. From the first euphoric cymbal crashes in ‘The Greater Times’, there seems to be a new kind of light shining on Electrelane which remains strong throughout the album. Whether it’s because of the dainty guitar notes of ‘To The East’, the ebb-and-flow piano of ‘Saturday’ or the charmingly simplistic Ukulele strums on ‘Cut And Run’, there’s no doubt that this is an album inspired by warm emotions. Susman’s surprisingly honest and touchingly tender lyrics also attest to that time and time again but the willingness to push the envelope hasn’t left the band either. At times, ‘No Shouts, No Calls’ touches on the heaviest material they’ve written. For example, the furious, metallic riffing that Clarke slashes out of her guitar during ‘Between The Wolf And The Dog’ are unexpectedly violent but undeniably exciting whilst Gaze pounds the drums with a new found viciousness during ‘Five’ which frequently boils over with rhythmic intensity. But even these moments are executed with a playful heart rather than a perturbed one.
OK, so it might not be ‘pop’ music in the traditional, see-you-on-the-cover-of-Smash-Hits kinda way but this is how Susman, Clarke, Murray and Gaze envision it and as we all know, seeing/hearing the world through someone else eyes/ears is often the best way to broaden the mind. In that respect as well as many others, ‘No Shouts, No Calls’ is an album of enticingly irregular brilliance.
– Hardeep Phull (Brooklyn, New Year’s Day, 2007)
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