Sassnitz to Berlin


Electrelane were always one of those bands on the periphary of my knowledge - I'd see their name in articles and listings but never really get the urge to explore their sound. The vague impression I did get was they were a bit of a poor (wo)man's Stereolab so I stayed away.

For some reason, I think it was a link on a mail from Too Pure, their label (also home to the mighty Scout Niblett, hence me being on the mailing list) that offered a free track from their most recent album No Shouts No Calls. The track was To The East and I loved it as soon as the vocals started. I got all their stuff to hear how it really was, without my ear blinkers on. Their first couple of albums are mostly instrumental, and not that interesting to me, but there's something really wonderful about the vocals on these two later records, their voices are slightly flat, untrained and nonchalant, absolutely English. The song Enter Laughing is the pinnacle of this, the nuances of pronunciation and intonation are so evocative to me.



Memories are conjured up of the girls I fancied when I was in sixth form: unawarely beautiful South London middle class girls with cheeks like Braeburn apples and bedrooms full of crap self printed black and white photos, Klimt posters and the perpetual fug of joss sticks attempting to cover up their Marlboro Lights habit. I'd make them sensitive mixtapes and go to the New Cross Venue to watch bands with them, but never quite be able to convince them to kiss me. Strangely they all seemed to disappear when I started at art school — my particular favourite apparently got heavily into feminist performance art and went to live in Odessa. We exchanged waves a few years ago on Old Street, me on the 55 and her on a bike. She was still a beauty.
I forgot to say — Electrelane decided to go on an "indefinite hiatus" as soon as I belatedly discovered them. Typical.

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