Monday, February 06, 2006

No Hits 2.6.06


Bells - Electrelane

I've been listening to Electrelane's Axes (US, UK) a fair amount lately. The dramatic, layered build-ups and urgent rhythms are tapping some unmet musical or psychological need, I suppose.

Much of the record is instrumental, with long, raw droning jams. But even it you're a vocal-centric kind of person, you don't really miss them--there are so many other things going on. In "Bells," Verity Susman's half-buried voice (ah yes, Albini's thumbprint) is consigned to the first minute and a half, and is ultimately unequal to the throbbing drums, frantic piano and buzzsaw guitar that drown the track in a tsunami of noise and controlled chaos. Elsewhere the record offers morose disco for armchair dancers, plenty of knotty art rock and even a pastoral folk moment with banjos that seem as surprised as you do to find themselves there.

Axes is an interesting, challenging album that engages intellecturally and emotionally. Highly recommended.

Just so you understand the range of this Brighton, England band: "The Valleys" is from their previous LP, which owns its share of guitar squall, but more frequently rides Stereolabish electronic grooves. When it isn't busting out the choir.

The Valleys - Electrelane


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