Monday, April 02, 2007

Lost Underground

It's no surprise that Arcade Fire chose Brighton's Electrelane as openers for select Neon Bible tour dates. Current single "To the East" has a few shades of Funeral, with a beat akin to "Rebellion (Lies)" and sharply wavering vocals that bring to mind Régine Chassagne crossed with Nico. With continued listening, you'll find that Electrelane quickly deviates from expectations, offering unique harmonies that show an impressive vocal range from frontwoman Verity Susman and guitarist Mia Clarke.

Electrelane - To The East

Continuing on the theme of female vocal harmonies, we have Palomar. The Brooklyn natives can be sorted into the category of bands I've heard little of, but have been thoroughly impressed with. Small dose, big reward; kind of like getting your Hepatitis vaccination before heading to Varadero. When Palomar III: Revenge of Palomar dropped in 2004, it failed to draw much attention. For me though, songs like "The Planeiac" and "Work is a State Function" combined somewhat cynical, cheeky lyrical approaches with fast and bubbly guitars, providing ample reasons for repeated listening. From the first glimpses of the new album, All Things, Forests seems to be a healthy improvement on their already polished sound. "Our Haunt" adds a bit of melancholy to the mix before a saccharine guitar solo closes out the song. Album opener "Bury Me Closer" is equally compelling, showcasing the band's greatest asset - the vocals. The lack of drum percussion on "Closer" brings to mind Tilly and the Wall and sees the band at the most versatile point of their career.

Palomar - Our Haunt
Palomar - Work is a State Function

Tilly and The Wall - Nights of the Living Dead

And for something to balance out all the estrogen of the above bands, a song about Bombs! Ted Leo's new stuff looks very promising and sees him more pissed off than ever before. Bomb.Repeat.Bomb is a sarcastic soother for fighter pilots ignorant to world affairs. The track flies out of the gate with a chugging rhythm interspersed with sharp cries of Bomb!! Repeat!! Bomb!! Repeat!! Bomb!!! Some genuine hard rock that doesn't sound half-assed or contrived, now that is hard to find. The new album Living with the Living is worth checking out.

Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Bomb.Repeat.Bomb

- Brad

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