Our heroines Electrelane have always had a reputation for being a bit dark, a touch sombre and liable to cause an involuntary stroke of the chin at certain moments. Formed during 1998 in the British seaside town of Brighton, Electrelane soon found they could make fantastic music without the aid of vocals, and the massively ambitious debut Rock It To The Moon (2001) stands as a testament to that even now. It's majestic follow up The Power Out (2004), managed to be more concise without losing the sense of adventure but it was with Axes (2005) that the quartet's experimentalism reached a natural and organic peak. Borne of improvisations, almost entirely instrumental and recorded all in one go, Axes marked the end of Electrelane Mk 1 in an intricate body of music that most bands couldn't emulate if they had detailed diagrams. Now though, it's time to reveal their new side and it bears about as much resemblance to "post rock" as a member of Mogwai does to a Calvin Kelin model. Whereas both the previous two albums were committed to tape at Steve Albini's renowned Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago, the quartet decided to try something different by to recording at The Key Club in Benton Harbor, Michigan, this time out. From the first euphoric cymbal crashes in "The Greater Times", there seems to be a new kind of light shining on Electrelane which remains strong throughout the album. Whether it's because of the dainty guitar notes of "To The East", the ebb-and-flow piano of "Saturday" or the charmingly simplistic ukulele strums on "Cut And Run", there's no doubt that this is an album inspired by warm emotions. Verity Susman's surprisingly honest and touchingly tender lyrics also attest to that time and time again but the willingness to push the envelope hasn't left the band either. At times, No Shouts No Calls touches on the heaviest material they've written. For example, the furious, metallic riffing that Mia Clarke slashes out of her guitar during "Between The Wolf And The Dog" are unexpectedly violent but undeniably exciting whilst Emma Gaze pounds the drums with a new found viciousness during "Five" which frequently boils over with rhythmic intensity. But even these moments are executed with a playful heart rather than a perturbed one. In that respect as well as many others, No Shouts No Calls is an album of enticingly irregular brilliance.
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