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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Electrelane
Axes
Too Pure

Rating: 7.5/10 ?


August 9, 2005
It may be remarked that in many case,s beyond the excitement of the debut and the uncertainty of the sophomore album, it is in the third release that a group can be witnessed to take flight. Electrelane may not have progressed in leaps and bounds in terms of their technical capabilities, but their third, Axes, represents a coming of age: they sound focused, self-assured and fully intent on being nobody but themselves.

Electrelane appears to have outgrown the Stereolab comparisons that were striking and commonly-held amongst critics in the aftermath of last year's The Power Out; as such, they have seemingly come into their own. They have ploughed deeper into the inner dwellings of Kraut-rock and emerged with an album that, while breezy and playful, comes across as confident, refined and certain of its direction.

The gentle simplicity and linear motion of "Bells" exemplifies the workings of a modern day Neu!. It cruises, barely drifting from the grooves laid before it, builds and closes contently; it does not revel in the audacity of setting foot beyond what is precise and necessary. The equally carefree "Two for Joy" is based on a handful of slow moving chord changes and, despite its frisky pace, allows Verity Susman's voice - which is notably still finding itself - to seep into the mix.

Despite the endearment provoked by Susman's voice, Axes embraces instrumentalism. "If Not Now When" begins in the vein of their trademark post-punk groove and, once momentum is gained, makes way for a lasting piano solo. "Atom's Tomb" has a similarly freestyle feel. It reincarnates the self-reflective murkiness of "Gone Darker," whereas the jerky "Business or Otherwise" evokes a racket-clad Gang of Four.

From the heart-warming closure brought by "Suitcase" - which in itself sums up Axes' qualities - it is somewhat evident that Electrelane's musical technicality and raw material is unmistakably basic. That said, the band's ability to sound unforced, unpretentious, unusual, and most importantly, real, is a breath of fresh air. The rough lining of each track is modestly compensated by the group's prevailing honesty: they know what they're doing, why they're doing it and (fans will be happy to assume) where it will take them.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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