Release Date: May 10, 2005
Record label: Too Pure
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
Though it arrives only a little over a year after the radiant The Power Out, Electrelane's third album Axes is a very different beast than their previous effort. Actually, it's more of a piece with the band's lengthy, improv-based debut, Rock It to the Moon, with keyboard-driven, largely instrumental tracks that often sound like a chamber music group playing forgotten Sonic Youth compositions. Both Rock It to the Moon and Axes show that Electrelane has undeniable talent as an instrumental post-rock band, but the mix of this talent with vocals and pop song structures on The Power Out was so striking that it almost can't help but be disappointing that the band didn't follow that direction on this album, too.
Electrelane’s Axes plays upon a very defined and balanced formula, making music that feels like if any one element disappeared – even the subtle scraping of guitar strings, barely audible on “Eight Steps” – the whole band would fall apart. It is the way it is, purposeful of intent. I recently witnessed such an unfortunate accident at their Bowery Ballroom performance earlier this month; cowed into submission by the sedate nature of the opening acts, the soundman must have been aiming low, as guitarist Mia Clarke and bassist Ros Murray were all but absent from the mix, even at the front of the house.