Electrelane - The Power Out

by Bob Coyne Rating: Release Date:2004-02-02

Bounteously crammed with French lyrics, 16th-century Spanish poetry and quotes from Nietzsche's Die Fröhliche Wissenschaft, Electrelane's second album, The Power Out, could have been just another load of scholarly indie swat from Pseud's Corner. However, the Brighton belles manage to swerve onrushing accusations of pretension by continuing to fashion themselves as the lost link between the Slits, Stereolab and the ancient Farfisa soundcapes of Pink Floyd.

By approaching the DIY ethos of punk and electronica like mad aunts on a crash course at music college, Electrelane's "anything goes" ethos is only rarely undermined by suspicions that their ambition is outstripped by their maladroit assets. So when The Power Out is good it's great, as on "This Deed" (think Joy Division draped in whitest ermine), in the tics and twitches of the punk funk "On Parade" and in the inclination towards a hazy, lazy, Hispanic version of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci in "Oh Sombra". And when it's great it's really quite exceptional: "The Valleys" cojoins Great War poet Siegfried Sassoon's "A Letter Home" with the sort of choristry not expanded upon since Roger Waters and Ron Geesin first locked foreheads for Atom Heart Mother. --Kevin Maidment

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