There’s a particular pace to music that I’ve always enjoyed; a pace perfect for drives on highways, open roads, vast tundra. I’m almost certainly not the only one with a desire for driving with Electrelane blaring out of speakers; it’s a natural instinct. It’s the sort of stuff that demands that sort of space. I just wish I actually had a car, because then I could listen to this at nighttime in the country at a great speed, with just headlights in front of me.
Electrelane have their own special sort of take on build-ups and progressions. Along with an intricate style of drumming, No Shouts, No Calls is driven mainly by organ drones; that said, there are guitars, banjos, pianos, xylophones, and all sorts of other different sounds employed throughout.
Vocals are used as an instrument to great effect: “Since I found you / I’m tearing down the walls without you / the walls the walls the walls the walls”, into woos and the like, and it’s all quite serene. The melodies tangle and a strange and beguiling chord progression begins – it’s here where opener ‘The Greater Times’ opens up, two thirds into the song, and it’s stunning. Delicate is certainly an applicable word, in terms of both instrumentation and pace: song and album are perfectly restrained. Do they record in a moving vehicle?
I wanted to draw some sort of comparison to Arcade Fire but restrained myself, but that the bands have toured makes perfect sense. The similarities are most obvious in the emotional depths of these songs, all the right melodies – sad ones, triumphant ones. There’s a real personal streak in the lyrics – it’s genuine and sits atop the frail but also strong tones. It’s most perfect when hovering above the often Krautrock-recalling repetition of Electrelane’s overall sound – the guitars hit the high notes, twinkling; the organs propel it all along.
_ No Shouts, No Calls is not formulaic or by numbers; in fact, the further into the album you get, the more it spreads out, the more instruments get chucked in and it’s clear that they’re willing to experiment. They’re very good at it, too. As the record progresses, it becomes clear that it’s not as perfect for driving as it initially seemed – the first two songs are made for the open road, but the rest is possibly better suited for headphones. The album constantly shifts in directions, while always retaining Electrelane’s very unique, signature style. Tracks like _‘After the Call’ open up a little more, with a quiet verse and suddenly loud chorus, and elsewhere there are calmer-still moments which come over as a little more somber in their tone but always with a shimmer of hope.
No Shouts, No Calls is a record that is subtly surprising. It’s a little bit adventurous, capable of surprising sidesteps, but remains safely at home in Electrelane’s own engagingly individual aesthetic.
9Richard MacFarlane's Score