Label Description: Following "Rock It To The Moon" (2001), "Power Out" (2004), and "Axes" (2005), there seems to be a new kind of light shining on Electrelane that remains strong throughout this record, but the willingness to push the envelope hasn't left the band either. "No Shouts No Calls" is an album of enticingly irregular brilliance. "Electrelane effortlessly assimilate a wide cut of moods and influences - the off kilter harmony of the Velvet Underground, the droning insistence of Krautrock heroes Can, the bratty brashness of feminist popsters Le Tigre - into a heartfelt batch of art-pop that never sounds snobby" - Blender.
In many ways, Electrelane's fourth album is more of the same. The quartet of English lasses have shown off an ability to write potent, yet judiciously applied hooks before as they veered from jam-band experimenting (see their Rock It to the Moon
debut) to more structured and direct work (2004's The Power Out
). And while being compared to Stereolab, as they often are, isn't necessarily a bad thing, No Shouts No Calls
will do nothing to end the practice. Not only is there something in Verity Susman's drifting, flat vocals that reminds us of Laetitia Sadier, but the songs here, especially when the band gets into a groove on songs like "At Sea," have a similar drone.
But there are differences too; though it's still decidedly lo-fi, the record feels lighter and airier than past efforts (maybe because Steve Albini, who engineered The Power Out is nowhere to be seen). The tone contrasts are more assured as well in regards to how Susman's lyrics, which are mostly about breakups, dashed hopes and other classic features of unrequited love, interact with the music. Songs like "Saturday" get a boost from surrounding the melancholy of lines like, "what shall I do with a life full of memory?" with sing-song melodies and swells of delicate guitars. While Electrelane continue to blend kraut-rock and pop smarts together in swirls of sunny heartache, there is artistry and design in how No Shouts No Calls manages to sound loose, like they made it up on the fly. --Matthew Cooke