Welcome Back, Electrelane

Anyone here to whinge about the current abundance of bands reforming: the door’s that way. Anyone coming to join the chorus of delirious excitement at Electrelane getting back together: HIGH FIVE!

The Brightonian four-piece announced this morning that they’re going to be reuniting this summer to play some live dates, including London’s Field Day. Their last show was on December 1 2007 in their hometown, which isn’t really all that long ago in the grand scheme of things, but for those of us who failed to see them when they were active, the news comes as something of a godsend.

Although they received their fair share of acclaim during their nine-year career, they’re one of those bands whose cult stock has risen since they temporarily called it a day.

It’s not hard to understand why. Perhaps only Warpaint have come close to capturing what was so special about them; that sadly still rare sight of a group of four women on stage, totally attuned to each other’s musical instincts, who exist outside the confines of fashion and the expectations that that heinous term “all-female band” brings with it (yes, pedants, it’s factually accurate, but would you call Kings Of Leon an “all-male band”? I think not.).

Electrelane were – and now are again – everything I could possibly ever want a band to be. They’re literate language geeks, singing in English, French, German and Spanish and pilfering lyrics from Nietszche and Siegfried Sassoon (the latter on the wonderful, male voice choir-indebted ‘The Valleys’), and their first and third albums are epic, instrumental kraut-pop wig-outs – certain bands might claim to read Krautrock tomes on the tourbus, but get them in a pub quiz with Electrelane’s Emma, Mia, Ros and Verity and you’ll soon see who knows their Cluster from their Can, their ‘Autobahn’ from their ‘Zückerzeit’…

And when they do turn their hand to lyrics, they conjure elegant heartbreak and loss from old photos and grandmothers’ heirlooms (‘Saturday’), a decreasing grasp on the point of it all (‘The Greater Times’) and the hollow loss of missing someone even though they’re still laying right next to you (‘Birds’).

Verity once said in an interview that there’s “a point where sadness and happiness meet,” which goes some way toward explaining Electrelane’s appeal – the first lyric of ‘The Greater Times’ is “You say you don’t know what love is any more,” a line liable to trigger a bout of undignified weeping in the wake of a break-up, but at the same time provide solace in a sad smile of recognition.

If you’re not familiar with the band, here’s a few more clips to whet your appetite…

We’ve had Electrelane, Pulp, Death From Above 1979, Pavement, Suede, Roxy Music, The Libertines, err, Republica, Blink-182, Take That and more – but who else would you like to see reform?

All my fingers and toes are permanently crossed that, one day we’ll be able to relive the halcyon days of 2005 when Clor and Tom Vek do the right thing and get back in the studio. Holding out for a Sleater-Kinney reunion seems unlikely now that Carrie and Janet are back together as half of Wild Flag, but here’s hoping that one day…

NME’s guide to Electrelane – Spotify playlist