Lightships - Electric Cables
Behind the first album from Lightships is Gerard Love, a man that many people will know as the bassist and frequent singer/songwriter from Teenage Fanclub. Electric Cables is essentially a solo project that has been materialised using Love's friends from around Glasgow, including various members of Belle & Sebastian, The Pastels and of course, Teenage Fanclub. It's up to the listener to decide whether the songs on this album live up to Gerard Love's previous work, but his use of a name that doesn't give any clues as to who has created the album suggests that in this project he is taking a step away from the musical direction of Teenage Fanclub, and doing his own thing.
Gerard Love's voice blends effortlessly into the gentle melody of the opening track, 'Two Lines'; however, there was a question of it being too gentle when I realised that I had barely noticed that the track had slid quietly into the second song, 'Muddy Rivers', a folky song laced with flutes. The third song on Electric Cables, 'Sweetness in Her Spark' is its first single, and rightly so; it's a lovely track that is reminiscent of something from a less lively version of Teenage Fanclub's Bandwagonesque, which is possibly due to Gerard Love's decision to ditch his own bass guitar for a more of a six-string guitar sound on this album. With its carefully controlled rhythm and nostalgic, understated 90s-style vocals, this light song is likely to appease not just fans of Teenage Fanclub, but anybody who happens to stumble across this track.
'Every Blossom' is a short but sweet track with just enough interest in the lyrics to keep this part of the album from passing by unnoticed; lines such as "every blossom springs to life, to one cold, cold heart" are at odds with the tranquil chimes that sit behind the vocals. This peacefulness echoes throughout Electric Cables, and the natural-inspired song titles and even the pleasant blue colours of the artwork give the entire album a consistently laid back, calm feeling.
'The Warmth of the Sun' is a highlight of the album that has a subtlety which makes it sound like a creation from The Velvet Underground. The hypnotic ticking in this track could very easily be irritating but manages to glide over that label to fit into what can only be defined as blissfully relaxing, and when this is combined with the flute, it creates a song that has the qualities of a lullaby, but not in the boring sense of the word.
A couple of the songs, like 'Girasol' and 'Stretching Out' take on more of a lively tone with more hints of drumming, but by the time the chirpy 'Sunlight To The Dawn' is reached, the slow pace and overall mild tone of the album becomes slightly overwhelming. A lot of the time, this album simply feels like a space for the Gerard Love's creative overspill that he just couldn't fit into his work on Teenage Fanclub and The Pastels. Of course, taking into account Love's more than considerable talent, this is by no means a bad thing- just don't expect anything too spectacular.