Electrelane: The Power Out
Electrelane: The Power Out
Artist Electrelane
Album The Power Out
Label Too Pure
Released 2/2/2004
For a band that refuses to be defined by its past, The Power Out is a gauntlet to those who think they can predict what Electrelane are. The speedy ambience remains but, for a start, The Power Out has vocals and lyrics. The decision to have more singing came about gradually. “We started to feel like the songs were complete when they had some singing in them”, says Verity. “With most of the songs on the first album, vocals just felt unnecessary, like they were a distraction from the music.” In contrast to the many bands who develop an instrumental style later in their career, Electrelane have worked in the opposite way. As they say, they had to develop as a band before they could find a balance between words and music that they liked. Recorded and mixed in three weeks, The Power Out is, in Electrelane's terms, both conventional (it uses mainly traditional rock ‘n’ roll instruments) and complex. The band talk about it as inspired partly by the idea of folk songs and their intention to imbue it with a greater sense of space and light than the previous album. It's something that shines in songs like The Valleys where Verity arranged a setting of a Siegfried Sassoon poem for a Chicago choir, or Take The Bit Between Your Teeth, where punk swagger meets tight melody. French, German and Spanish are used on the record, as well as English. The decision behind this was basically a musical one. Sometimes the rhythm of another language scans better over a melody line than English would, they point out. Oh Sombra! [Oh Shadow] takes the fluidity of a melancholy Spanish lyric and injects a new urgency into it. This Deed, a gorgeously building song, takes its German lyrics from The Gay Science by Nietzsche, and wraps philosophy around music that could have come from vintage Stooges. But there are also other influences. “On Parade,” the first single from The Power Out (and, incidentally, the song whose lyrics contribute the album's title) is a moody, erotic strut of a beat inspired by The Well of Loneliness, Radclyffe Hall's scandalous novel (well, it was in 1928) on the love that dare not speak its name. “The one constant for us in making music is the desire to express tangible feelings”, says Verity. Communication is the key.