Electrelane - Axes
This is without doubt Electrelane’s most accomplished album to date. A dark, swirling electronic post rock trip of epic proportions. It’s an album with a heartbeat constantly pounding and driving away in the background. It’s awful to invoke something as clichéd as the Velvet Underground, but the ghost of Waiting For The Man is here somewhere lurking like a demon in the foundations but a roller coaster of twisted guitars, flowing pianos, trumpets and synthesisers has been built on top of it.
Anyway, the trouble with this sort of approach, of course, is that it won’t be to everyone’s taste. There’s a sense here that the band are playing for themselves a little too often and it’s often not easy for the listener to find a way in. This is not an album of easy hooks and catchy chorus’s, no sire, this is an often impenetrable wall of notes. Occasionally, it sounds a little, well, samey. But, having said that, it stands out head and shoulders in a sea of soulless, faceless nu-brit-pop bands that are swarming around the charts like flies around fresh faeces at the time of writing. Actually, it stands out more than head and shoulders in this sea of mediocrity, its more like some vast iceberg of quality, floating across the horizon not giving two hoots about what gets in its way. Listen to ‘Gone Darker’ for proof. Sounding like something Ken Russell would reject for being to off-the-wall for one of his films. It’s a mad, wailing thing, a dying whale of a song. It’s fantastic. But not for everyone.
Experimentation is the name of the game Electrelane are playing and, it’s a game they are winning. Despite the slight objections raised above, this is an album well worth a purchase. It’ll float around the room and worm its way into your soul if you let it. It’ll caress your brow with it’s warm, rich production before smashing it in with it’s crushing rhythms and often panicky, paranoid beats. All that and a quirky version of Leonard Cohen’s The Partisan for good measure. What more could you ask for?