Electrelane

The Power Out (Too Pure)

SXSW Records

Electrelane

The Power Out (Too Pure) British girl group Electrelane is one of the first generations benefiting from rock's post-riot grrrl era. This is a fortunate place for female artists to be, because the focus is on music rather than political statements. Electrelane can actually perform the act of ass kicking instead of engaging in Muhammed Ali-like declarations about how much ass they kick, which they do with aplomb on the quartet's sophomore release, The Power Out. These four English lasses, led by guitarist Verity Susman and drummer Emma Gaze, have mastered meditative art-pop that would bring a tear to the eye of many a European artiste. Title track "Gone Under Sea" is a fittingly sleepy intro, with Susman's deep-alto delivery of the French lyrics channeling Nico's insouciance over synthy New Wave. The ladies later harness some serious sexual energy with "Take the Bit Between Your Teeth," all crunchy guitars, tempo accelerations, and an urgent crescendo of noise and feeling that ends in a vocal outburst, then disappears – the sonic equivalent of a female orgasm. Susman's German on "This Deed" works fine even if you can't sprechen along; the cadence of the language syncs up with the music, which is simultaneously lullaby-smooth and herky-jerky. Closer "You Make Me Weak at the Knees" is a sweet outro with piano that cascades like a waterfall of arpeggios. The Power Out is a decidedly feminine release, complicated, sensitive, and mysterious. Which, like most girls, totally kicks ass. (Thursday, March 18, 1am @ Buffalo Billiards)

***.5

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