Electrelane: Rock It to the Moon

[23 April 2002]

By Eden Miller

Electrelane is cool. With its laid-back approach and growling instrumental anthems, Electrelane is all mood and attitude. From the dark “Gabriel” to the ragged dance floor feel of “Blue Straggler”, Electrelane bounces from here to there on Rock It to Moon, taking listeners along to strange worlds and environments. As the album title suggests, Electrelane is a bit removed from reality, while still playing with the conventions of it. Even if this album may not be much more than an enjoyable mood piece, it is still pretty much fun.

Not as spacey as its name and album title would lead you to believe, Electrelane takes basic instruments and real world sounds to create its sonic scenery. From the plinking piano on “Many Peaks” to the fierce guitars of “U.O.R.”, the band’s reliance on standard rock arrangements makes Rock It to the Moon all the more intriguing. Anyone can make synthesizers sound interesting, but Electrelane pushes itself to do more. Although the barking dog on “The Invisible Dog” is a little bit goofy, it subsides to an unintelligible, electronic baby voice. While some of these elements may have something of an art- school reject quality about them, Electrelane does it all with a knowing wink. The band seems aware of some of its sillier moments, and isn’t being weird just because it can. Rock It to the Moon is weird because it sounds cool.

Despite some obvious deviations, most of Rock It to the Moon does embrace the general principles of rock. “Spartakiade” comes closest to being the most straightforward song on the album, with its screech of electric guitars and thumping drums. Even tracks like “Mother”, which goes on for about eleven minutes, preserve rock sensibilities. This keeps Electrelane from becoming too obscured in itself.

Still, the exaggeratedly slow pace of “Long Dark” and the spooky organs of “Film Music” do tend to go a bit over the top. Electrelane sometimes doesn’t know when to quit, and that seems to be Rock It to the Moon‘s greatest problem. With the more cryptic elements of this album, Electrelane falters in holding listener’s attention. The disc tends to jump around quite a bit, from style to style, without much explanation. The energy of this album, though, is pretty contagious, as tracks like the indie-rock vibe “Le Song” provide a good balance for the dreaminess of “The Boat”.

The entertainment value of Rock It to the Moon is somewhat limited, in the end. It’s a good piece of mood music, and while Electrelane tends to supersede any doubts with its serene coolness, its music doesn’t hold up to being much more than slightly bizarre background music. It’s good to have on, but it’s not the greatest to listen closely to. Electrelane is more interesting when you’re not paying attention. All of that is almost irrelevant, though, since Electrelane has accomplished what it set out to do: make an album that’s a bit strange, a lot of fun, and very cool.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/electrelane-rock/