Record review

Phases & Stages


Axes (Too Pure)

British foursome Electrelane turned heads with last year's The Power Out, blending chamber-pop with punk aesthetics. On it, singer Verity Susman often sang in French and German, matching the sound of the languages to the group's musical subtleties. Follow-up Axes sidesteps language almost entirely; there are few vocal tracks here, and of those, only a fraction have lyrics. Electrelane seems to be exploring possibilities in the absence of language, using a guitar, cello, banjo, or even a train whistle in the place of spoken expression. The challenge presented is in realizing that on "If Not Now, When?" the singer is the piano and it's that voice making the point – as it does throughout the entire LP. And when language is pushed aside, beautiful things arise, such as the visceral thrill of the gypsy jaunt captured on "Eight Steps." Recorded live from start to finish in December 2004, Axes feels of a loose, extensive jam session that still explores the darker corners of chamber pop-punk, but with an arresting experimental edge. (Emo's, Thursday, July 28)


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