[22 April 2007]
Australian-born, Berlin resident, Justine Electra has been a fixture on the German underground tek-house scene for the last few years. And it’s the influences garnered from her time spent working as a club DJ and songwriter for such high-profile local acts as Tarwater (“Noon”) and Forum (“Blowing Notes”) that provide the electro sample-and-loop sheen to a debut album that is otherwise pure acoustic folk-pop. Underneath the crackling radio distortion, chiming clocks and eerie whine of a second-hand pacemaker, beats the heart of a sultry, soulful vocalist who, at her best, can conjure up songs of gentle beauty like “Killalady”, or lose herself in the bubblegum indie-pop of “Mom and Dad and Me and Mom” (which she claims to have written when she was eight years old). Sadly, however, as Soft Rock progresses, these magical moments become rare treasures as the songs begin to slip into a resoundingly contrived experimentalism that belies Electra’s skill as a consummate vocalist and musician.