Free from the eternal rat race to break the Billboard Top 40 list, Electrelane’s The Power Out declines conventional song structure with its complex, genre-crossing blend of moody and alluring experimental rock. Following their debut album of 2001, Rock It to the Moon, Electrelane deviates noticeably, adding lyrics to their electronic and hypnotic rhythms.
The female band from Brighton, England, traveled the well-worn path to Steve Albini’s Chicago studio to record The Power Out in three weeks, where lead singer Verity Susman recorded in four languages, including French, German and Spanish. The album is a myriad of sounds veering from one inspired genre tribute to the next, evolving into a melting pot of Stereolab, Talking Heads and even the Strokes in terms of rhythmic styles. The album never really cements the band’s identity but still indulges in an adventurous hybrid of sounds.
“The Valleys” features a wobbly organ line and a 12-person choir that begets an eerie and epic consciousness while “That Bit Between Your Teeth” is more post-punk inspired. “Enter Laughing” and “Birds” are colored by gentle vocal meanderings and soothe the listener.
Although the album does not easily lend itself to love at first listen, you will find yourself sucked in by its unorthodox charm, which will have you cherishing the album for months on end.
[Monique Sherman … Smegma, button bag, orange jacket, high-pressure menstruation and the corpse from “The Ring.”]