I love my ‘job’. Imaging going to your post-box in the morning, and after clearing out the pizza flyers and free newspapers you come across an envelope, which looks decidedly CD-shaped and unmistakably DIY. “Great” I think sardonically “another dull indie-guitar promo, which will probably end up serving as a coaster. Thanks a lot MySpace”. Then imagine my surprise when out tumbles a CD with ‘electroluvs’ emblazoned in big pink letters, informing me that said group is composed of Billy and Kate, a duo from coastal Scotland hooked on analogue synths, buzzsaw guitars and soaring melodies. Sounds good, apart from the soaring melodies part. Worth a listen.
And I do mean that in the best sense possible. This album manages to touch on pretty much everything that is good about new-wave electropop these days. Imagine an amalgam of the off-beat pop sensibilities of XTC, the inventiveness and minimalist tendencies of Add (N) to X and the twee playfulness of Belle & Sebastian. There you have it. Not only that, they even have the bollocks to cover Spooky by Dusty Springfield, despite it being played to death by student hipsters since it appeared on the Lock Stock soundtrack a few years ago. What is refreshing is that there is none of the tongue-in-cheek campness which many electro bands tend to use to cover their mediocrity. This is intelligent, interesting and above all fun!
From the urgency of the album opener ‘First Rush’ you realise that these guys are a bit special. As well as all the obvious electro references, one influence that additionally spring to mind is US indie demi-gods the Postal Service, but with a whole lot more energy and less self-loathing. The album’s diversity is emphasised by ‘Over & Over’, which not only benefits from excellent production, but also demonstrates this duo’s knack for melding electro and indie-rock into something greater than the sum of its parts. What is impressive is the ease with which they bring in emotional warmth into what is often considered a cold, clinical genre, without sounding trite.
Another high point of the album is ‘Wicked Girl’, with massive fuzzy bass, and dark, minimalist melodies, all the while with Kaye’s spoken vocal over the top. Never before has a Scottish accent sounded so menacing. All the more so, because the track is followed by ‘Teenage Timebomb’, where Billy’s vocals are very reminiscent of something out of the Rocky Horror Show, as are the bleak yet bubblegum lyrics.
This album is a true electropop gem. Although Electroluvs are not reinventing the wheel here, they display an abundance of imagination, wit and playfulness. If there is any justice, this album will feature on the ‘Top 50 of 2006′ list of every music editor worth their salt, and be on heavy stereo rotation for everyone else.