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New Electric Ride

Balloon Age

(Beyond Beyond Is Beyond; US: 25 Feb 2014; UK: 25 Feb 2014)

Relentlessly inventive British psych-rock

New Electric Ride are a British psych-rock band who channel equal parts 1960s grooviness and Brit-rock twee silliness. What makes them great – and they are pretty great – is that this combination is mined not for novelty value but in the service of compelling tunes. Songs like “Here Comes the Bloom” and “In Chains” are rocking confections built of equal parts fuzzed-out guitars, reverbed harmony vocals and left-of-center jump-cuts: sitar and accordion breaks, abrupt shifts in tempo and time signature, and fuzzy-headed lyrics about submarines and going with the flow. Instead of being a mess, it largely works, mainly because the band employ their wide-ranging range of tricks in order to create compelling songs, not to bask in their own cleverness. In tunes like “Marquis de Sade” and “Bring What You Expect to Get”, you get everything from Black Sabbath-y guitar riffs to subtle cello flourishes to spoken word extracts – in French. “Lovers” flirts with a bluesy riff, while “Bye Bye (Baton Rouge)” sounds like an outtake from one of John Lennon’s solo albums. One gets the impression of a band whose restlessness won’t allow its members to stick too long in a particular groove. In this case, that’s okay, because the next groove is almost always just as good as the last. Special mention must be made of album closer “From Under Me”, an outstanding, wistful that drops all the cleverness and head games and mines a vein of pure heart. An outstanding capper to an already-engaging album, “From Under Me” shows that New Electric Ride are far more than simply a bunch of clever musicians.

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DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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