If the Velvet Underground has been an all-female band hailing from Brighton, singing songs in English, French, Spanish and German on subject matter ranging from Nietzsche to Radclyffe Hall to Siegfried Sassoon then they would have sounded pretty much like this.
Music-wise this album is not quite so eclectic as the lyrical content, with a preponderance of drone-rock guitar and an almost motorik (krautrock) driving beat. Nevertheless it was not regular chart-fodder in 2004. Consequently, it’s really rather good.
The record has a heavy grungy analogue quality to it, perhaps not surprising given it was produced by Steve Albini who’s known for his ‘no frills’ approach and has produced the likes of Nirvana, the Pixies and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Electrelane fit well within that roster, though closer to the ‘math rock’ of the latter than the punky-grunge of the former.
My favourites are On Parade, This Deed and The Valleys, which delivers an epic unexpected grandeur to the album. The title and the acapella singing style immediately locates it for me within the Welsh Valleys, although it is in fact the non-profit Chicago A Cappella choir that provide the vocals. It’s worth checking out; it elevates this album and Electrelane from their drone-rock counterparts.
Best Bits: The Valleys – choral rock
Genre: Female Drone Rock
Like This, Try This: The single In Berlin from Electrelane’s last album in 2007 No Shouts, No Calls