Thu May 10 2007
Photograph: Louis Decamps
Since its formation in the late ’90s, Electrelane has often been easier to admire than truly love. Smarter than your average rock band, the British quartet has impressively incorporated multiple languages and lyrical references to Friedrich Nietzsche, Radclyffe Hall and Juan Boscn into its art-rock songs. But aside from 2004’s spellbinding The Power Out, the ladies’ decision to follow their heads over their hearts has resulted in some frustratingly inaccessible EPs and albums.
Fortunately, the new No Shouts, No Calls (Too Pure/Beggars Group) isn’t one of them. Still evoking Stereolab and th’ Faith Healers, the band’s krautrockish songs now boast unexpected hooks, buoyant melodies and—best of all—more of keyboardist Verity Susman’s woozy, woman-on-the-verge vocals than ever before. Moreover, alongside the racing instrumentals that have tended to dominate the band’s repertoire, there’s an abundance of shambling pop gems that qualify as its most straightforward love songs to date.
Hopefully the album will lend itself to warmer live performances. Although Electrelane has always put on an undeniably focused and powerful show—the relentless furor with which it tears through its jam-heavy sets can be awe-inspiring—it has never come off as particularly inviting. In fact, on previous tours, Susman et al. seemed intent on cultivating a chilly, impersonal stage presence. Still, it’s hard to imagine that their demeanor won’t be considerably softened when performing new heartbreakers like the sweet, tambourine-accented “Cut and Run” and “Saturday,” a hypnotic breakup song that’s more moving than anything else they’ve recorded.—Jimmy Draper