Electrelane | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader


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Electrelane deemed vocals unnecessary on their 2001 debut, Rock It to the Moon (Mr. Lady), but for The Power Out (Too Pure) Verity Susman steps up to the mike on nearly every song. Though her voice is thin and she can't always hit the notes she's aiming for, her mostly naked melodies add nice contrast to the band's taut, Krautrock-inspired grooves. This all seems part of a broader and ultimately more important change in the Brighton quartet's style: a newfound command of dynamics. Instrumentation differs from song to song, and there's more air in the arrangements; the rhythm section kicks in on the climax of "On Parade" like a rocket booster. Guitarist Mia Clarke and Susman, who plays guitar, keyboards, and even some squawky Lora Logic-style saxophone, keep their parts simple and their tones clean, using placement as opposed to volume to change the complexion of a song. The closer, an instrumental drum and piano duet called "You Make Me Weak at the Knees," suggests the cascading melodies of Chinese classical music, but the most arresting cut on the disc (which was recorded in town with Steve Albini) is "The Valleys," an interpretation of a Siegfried Sassoon poem sung by Chicago a Cappella over sparse drums, bass, and organ. Ted Leo/Pharmacists headline; locals Perfect Panther open. All ages. Tuesday, March 23, 8:30 PM, Logan Square Auditorium, 2539 N. Kedzie; 773-276-3600.

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