Electrelane, Astoria, London

Astoria, London

Electrelane have spent nine years sculpting their live show into something that demands time and space to come into its own. Here, tucked into a 30-minute slot supporting Maximo Park, they had neither. Deprived of the chance to indulge in lengthy space-rock improvisation, they rolled out a sampling of each of their four albums. What a surprise: cut down to seven songs, their set was an exercise in making a little go a long way.

Some of their krautrockish jams must have been challenging to a crowd awaiting Maximo's sparky art-pop, but the effect was interesting. On the new record, No Shouts No Calls, the Brighton foursome flirt with accessibility in the shape of a few melodies, but on stage there was no evidence of this radical shift. The numbers chosen to represent the album, To the East and In Berlin, were executed as gluey jam sessions, each member ponderously adding her own glob of freestyle noise. To the East was launched by a keyboard drone, produced by Verity Susman holding down one note, until bass, drums and guitar crashed in.

It was the collision of the cerebral and the visceral that made this show work. The mathematics of Susman's notes was offset by the physicality of Mia Clarke and Ros Murray's guitar-playing, and the result was a memorable assault on mind and senses. On the penultimate UOR, the three clustered around metronomic drummer Emma Gaze, playing a metre from her face like so many riot grrrls. From the balcony, it looked like an extraordinary four-part connection, which pretty well summed up the entire 30 minutes.


Caroline Sullivan

The GuardianTramp

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