Just listened to… Thunderheist

Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

thunderheistSeems like electro acts continue to pop up like weeds. Thunderheist is another one. The two piece act is from Canada and their first album has been released this summer at Ninja Tune.

There are similarities to Peaches (without the explicit sexual lyrics) and the beats could have been inspired from Salt N Pepa and upgraded with a lot of distortion and grungy noise.

“Jerk it” get’s me up and going, but I think the songs in general are missing the extra fun, rocking or original thing.

There are a couple of songs at their MySpace profile and you can listen to the album at Ninja Tune.

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Electrelane is a rock band from Brighton, England. They have made four albums and a couple of singles, with the exception of their debut, all released at Too Pure (discogs.com). In this blogpost I wanted to write about my passion for the band.

Rock it to the moon (2001)electrelane-rock-it-to-the-moon

The title must be a reference to Herbie Hancooks “Rockit” playing with the words as if “rock it” was “rocket”. NME thinks it’s snatched from AC/DC, but I don’t get it? None the less there are several references on this record. So why not think the same of opening track “The invisible dog” as a reference to The Stooges “I wanna be your dog”? “Long Dark” include a short piece from “Pop Corn” by Gershon Kingsley. And the sound on “Film music”, “Le Song” and “Spartakiade” could be variations from a sixties soundtrack.

“Gabriel” is one of my all time favorite tracks by Electrelane. It builds up slowly to get become a wild and furious rock dance rhythm only to start over again. Gabriel is a kind of an Electrelane trademark.

With the debut Electrelane put them self somewhere around postrock and krautrock. The sound is a mixture of lots of organ playing, hypnotic rhythms, walls of guitars, echoes, sometimes some backing vocals singing “Ahh-ahh-ahhhhh”, but mostly without any vocals.

The Power Out (2003)electrelane-the-power-out

The Power Out is like travelling with the Locomotive that Electrelane put on tracks at their debut album and probably expressed at their best with the last song “mother”.

I remember as I listened to “The Power Out”, I thought it was better than “Rock it…”. I’m not so sure today, but for me I was at that time easier to understand and explore it. “On Parade” and “This Deed” are my faves, but also unexpected “The Valley” should be mentioned.

The new record differs from the former by having vocals. It’s more open and less “intellectual”. The critics called their attitude arrogant and pretentious, while others sheered the unpredictably songs as stand out of “today’s indie music”.

Steve Albini produced the record which probably made it more consistent and traditional in the name of rock. But the interplay between the bandmembers is still creating the essential sound. You are never in doubt that you are listening to Electrelane.

Axes (2005)electrelane-axes

In the beginning of “Gone Darker” there is a horn from a train that bluster through the soundscape. A saxophone sets the tones. And then we are riding with Electrelane. Faster. Faster. “Axes” once again had a lot of positive reviews, but the critics were still not convinced to name it a masterpiece.

I gladly name the gypsy-like track “Eight steps” a masterpiece. And other favorites include “One two three, lots”, “Bells” and “Suitcase”. On the other hand I admit the experiments on “Business or otherwise” doesn’t promote any magical tricks, but rather makes out a strange obstinacy to play whatever Electrelane like.

“These pockets are people” fades into “The partisan”, a successful cover of Leonard Cohen. It’s well done and a good way to use how the songs of Electrelane evolve. But I must admit that listening to the last track “Suitcase” is somehow the same manuscript as we had with “mother” from “Rock it…”. When you hear this song, you have the sum of the whole record.
Maybe. But it doesn’t change the fact that there a plenty of divers tunes and changing melodies, structures and ideas. If you think the song is a repetition of a former, then I’d say it’s another attempt to perfection and write the final song. This approach can be found in poetry as well.

And Electrelane still have some of the same elements from their first record. The sudden shift in tempo, organs and hypnotic guitar rhythm. On “The power out” they extended the instrumentation, and they continued on “Axes”.

Singles, B-sides & Live (2006)

I don’t want to dwell that much on this compilation. It includes the songs from the EP “I want to be a president” and all B sides from their singles (before 2006) as well as some LIVE recordings.

It includes the three cover songs “The Partisan” already mentioned from “Axes”. It includes the Bruce Springsteen track “I’m on fire” and “More than this” by Roxy music.

“Long Dark” is an alternative version release from a compilation in the magazine “Comes with a smile” (Vol 9). Instead of a short piece of “Pop corn” the guitars are playing the mainline from “Push it” by Salt N Pepa in a crushing up-tempo. (I guess – I haven’t found anyone else writing this).

My favorite is “I’ve been your fan since yesterday” that has dreamy choir, distinguished piano and the well-known looping guitars besides the always heartbeating rhythm of the drummer.

No Shouts No Calls (2007)electrelane-no-shouts-no-calls

Not only is the songwriting more traditional connected to the instruments than ever before. The lyrics are more clear, emotional and bare. The repeating “it could be home, it could be home (…)” from the beautiful “To the east” works like when the guitars are looping. It’s not great songwriting, but it somehow gives Electrelane an honest edge far away from the experimental and young debut “Rock it to the Moon”.

Favorite tracks are “In Berlin”, “To the East” and “Saturday”. The last one maybe because it reminds me of somebody. I didn’t praise this record as I heard it the first time. But somehow “No Shouts No Calls” managed to crawl under my skin and become an important album in my collection. It’s truly a good thing to listen to if you are longing for a long lost love.

“Do do do we’re like fish in the sea / but I thought you were the one for me”.

It’s unknown if Electrelane will ever make a record again. In 2007 Verity Susman recorded a two track single under the name Vera November – http://www.myspace.com/veranovember. Mia Clarke has released one record together with Andy More of The Ex called “Guitargument” in 2009 and formed the band “Follows”.

MP3:
Electrelane – This Deed