Album: Electrelane

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The Independent Culture

The Brighton-based female combo Electrelane elected to record their new album live in the studio. It makes sense; they have Steve Albini at the desk, a producer known for his ability to capture raw, post-punk spirit on the first pass. Also, the band's current style lends itself to this method, being a sort of cross between Krautrock, klezmer and free jazz that thrives on the enthusiasm of performance. Tracks such as "Bells", "Suitcase" and "Those Pockets Are People" are chugging motorik grooves in the style of Neu!, generally starting with a repeated piano figure, joined by insistent drums and eventually guitar, whereupon the band speed up, adding more abstract piano chording. That's usually where the track ends, but in the case of "Those Pockets...", the piece slips smoothly into what is still recognisable as Leonard Cohen's "The Partisan", despite the churning thrash they give it. Sometimes, a sax adds squeaks and groans, as on "Gone Darker". Elsewhere, variety is provided by poignant banjo, mournful brass and a choir; the klezmer-style vamping of organ and harmonium, like some berserk polka ("Eight Steps"); and, less successfully, the free-jazz stylings of "Business or Otherwise", a series of random, tentative squeaks, thumps and scrapes of sound.