no shouts, no calls.

i submitted my first record review of electrelane's fourth album, no shouts, no calls to Pitchfork, but it's highly unlikely they'll publish it. since i've never published before, they had me fill out a questionnaire about my top five favorite bands for each decade (70's-90's) and the top ten records released in the last 12-18 months. it's pretty funny how elitist members of the indie rock world are. but no one's as bad as the dicks at sonic boom. if ever you're in seattle, don't shop there. only buy easy street. anyway, here's my review:


No Shouts, No Calls

[Too Pure; 2007]
Rating: 4.7

No Shouts, No Calls, no surprises, either. On their fourth record the Brighton quartet serves up the usual barrage of farfisa, frantic beats and jingling riffs, topped off with Susman’s Nico-meets-Siouxsie melodies. The opener, “The Greater Times,” is exactly that: a song to remind us of Electrelane’s excellence, most prominently achieved with their sophomore effort, 2003’s The Power Out. But what No Shouts proves is that once again, Electrelane has been unsuccessful in its ability to find structure, identity. Whereas The Power Out infused French and Spanish poetry and 60’s gospel, on No Shouts Electrelane appears to have taken a step back—simply put: No Calls, No Shouts falls short of taking the power out; its lack of cohesiveness and tension acts more like a flickering 60-watt bulb on its way out. No Shouts dishes up nothing more than a track list akin to their recent Singles, B-Sides and Live record. A handful of tracks (“Tram 21,” “Five,” and “The Lighthouse”) could easily pass as b-sides to their instrumental debut album, Rock It To the Moon. It begs the question, is Electrelane stuck between a Rock and a hard place?

While No Calls, No Shouts most likely isn’t the poppy post-rock masterpiece the band hoped to achieve, Electrelane still delivers. On track 7, “Between The Wolf and The Dog,” Clarke cranks it up a notch, pieces together a metal riff that could make a fucking champ blush. Halfway through the track, the instruments drop and harmonic “ooh, ooh, ooooh-ooooh, ahhhh’s” shine through, catchy enough to rival the Concretes for the next Target commercial. “To the East,” the first single, gives nods to Roxy Music, as Susman carries the chorus, “It could be home, it could be home, it could be home for you and me.” The band slows it down on track 3’s “After the Call,” foreshadowing a possible gospel “Valleys”-esque audible, but they charge back in, Clarke’s guitar roaring, Gaze and Murray aligned as always. Another standout, “Saturday,” starts of with Clarke’s solo guitar, reverb piled on, and Susman jumps in, “I’ve got a photo from a long time ago,” answered by an influx of voices, “Hold it in your pocket.” The song maintains this call and response method, but surprisingly never gets boring or repetitive. Electrelane’s secret. Maybe it’s their photogenic appeal, or maybe it’s the sound of long-lost sisters inviting us to mid-day tea and cake.

While Electrelane still know how to rock it out of this world, upholding their effeminate harmonies, romantic lyrics, array of synth and ferocious beats, there’s still something missing on No Shouts, No Calls. And the patch included as cover art doesn’t quite make up for it.

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