Tuesday, April 17, 2007
No Shouts, No Calls
When Arcade Fire cancelled the rest of their European tour lately it wasn’t just a shame for their fans from Norway to France, it was probably also a bit of a blow for Electrelane, who Win Butler and co. had invited to support them on the tour. With their new album No Shouts, No Calls due to be released soon, it was the perfect opportunity to expose their stirring sounds to a new and much bigger audience.
One of these big audiences was at Brixton Academy last month, where I was almost as keen to see Electrelane as the more illustrious headliners. Particularly since I hadn’t seen the Brighton band for about three years, around the time of their debut album The Power Out (Arcade Fire connection anyone?). I was totally won over by its blend of fuzzy guitars and lovely melodies and it was one of my albums of 2004. They were pretty good live too. The next year, they released Axes, which wasn’t really the album I was expecting. It was definitely Electrelane, but it was just a bit too experimental, a bit to hard to love for me to stay too interested.
But now they’re about to release No Shouts, No Calls, which really is the follow-up to Power Out that I’d been hoping for. And it’s very good indeed. There may be no male voice choirs on this album, and no singing in French, but it does these ace guitar riffs and melodies again. Electrelane are equally at home on instrumentals as well as songs with actual singing. They’re also pretty hot at these wordless vocal ah-ah type tunes too. The harmonies are right on the button. The lyrics are emotive and interesting. And there’s some of the best use of keyboards /piano/ organ that I’ve heard on a recent rock record.
So back to Brixton then, and a somewhat tentative opening. I don’t think that Verity Susman, Mia Clarke, Ros Murray and Emma Gaze are used to a stage of this size. They seemed a little over-awed. But they got on with it and I was impressed. Verity apologised for playing a lot of new songs, but let’s face it, all of these songs were new to most of the early Arcade Fire audience. And any Electrelane fans there, if they were like me, would have been bursting to hear the new stuff played live. And we weren't disappointed. It all sounded good, but I’ve got a feeling that it’ll sound a whole lot better in the more intimate surroundings of the Scala (well more intimate than Brixton!) on 9 May. With Brakes and The Early Years as well! Can’t wait!
Download: Electrelane – The Greater Times
Download: Electrelane – Tram 21
Pre-order No Shouts, No Calls. True the cover is a little odd, and reminiscent of Blue Peter or something, but the vinyl version is a very nice package indeed. Songs themed by types of knots! What more could you ask for?
More of my photos of the Brixton show (plus Arcade Fire) at my Flickr.
You can keep up to date with Electrelane's current tour on their tour blog.