Electrelane

When I ask people if they like Electrelane and their answer is not "hell yea, those girls rule," they get greeted with a look of utter confusion like they've just replied in a language that I am not familiar with. Surely there is only 2 possible ways to answer this question and that is the obvious "yes" or " I'm sorry but I've been in a coma for the last 10 years and haven't heard this band to which you refer." In my humble opinion to hear this band is to love them. I first came into contact with Electrelane via their second album and debut for Too Pure, The Power Out (I was in a coma when they released their first record Rock It To The Moon in 2001.) Their expansion of the instrumental rock jams of before to include the most beautiful vocals was a wise move and made this record one of the best albums of the last 5 years. Strangely though, it's follow up seemed to leave this behind slightly and 2005's Axes was an admirable extension to their sound, offering up a much more challenging listening experience - but it didn't capitalise on the successes of The Power Out as much as I had hoped.

Luckily, Electrelane's fourth release No Shouts, No Calls ties up unfinished business perfectly and seems a much more logical follow up to The Power Out than Axes did. It's exactly what I wanted from this band and is a damn near perfect album. From the first note of opener The Greater Times your heart will let out a sigh of relief as if it had been holding its breath since the last release. "I've been waiting for you," it claims, well so have we. The majority of the songs here follow a similar formula. They take the form of the most perfect day. They start off gently with the sweetest melody then slowly and only when you're completely ready do they rise and pick up speed to an invigorating gallop. They either wind down as gently as they begun or collapse in a heap of exhausted joy. They contain long hours of sunshine and any clouds that may occur are welcome. In Berlin is a perfect example of this winning formula. The blissful vocals ease us in over the most delicate of piano melodies. The rhythm of the drums carries us higher to be joined gradually by the string section which soars to majestic heights. It's simply beautiful and shows this bands versatility and ability to move the listener with a punch and a whisper.

The punch comes in the form of Between The Wolf And The Dog. This is one of the few times when this gradual build up technique is not employed and it's a wake up call to any lazy ears. The drums are relentless and pounding and the guitars even more so. It's also one of the few nearly instrumental tracks recalling their earlier work. The instrumental muscle is diffused nicely by some sweet oo's and ah's in the middle, but all in all this song serves to get your attention. The other song that strays from the formula is Cut And Run. This is a stripped down ukulele love ditty and is as light as The Wolf And The Dog is heavy. It's airy and joyous and provides light relief from the emotion that went before.

No Shouts, No Calls is Electrelane's most accessible album to date but is also their most joyous. It is packed full of blissful lyrics of devotion and unfailing love and a lot of the dark experimentation of earlier works have turned into more fully realised entities making the album as a whole way more consistent than past efforts. The Power Out will always be dear to me as it was my savored moment of discovery of this band but this release solidifies them as one of the most treasured bands of recent times.