Label: Beat Service Records Release date: RELEASE DATE 30/03/09 Website: http://www.beatservice.no/the_electones.asp Buy: Amazon The Electones, upon first internet inspection, are an enigma. With only their Beatservice Records artist profile to go on, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the band deal in ‘Contemporary West-Coast Jazz’, as their obviously more Myspace savvy name-sharers do. A quick listen to their latest, ‘If You’ll Be Null I’ll Be Void’ (IYBN...) confirm an altogether different genre, or at least a very different artist content to span lo-fi electro, folky pop and ambient soundscapes. The album title is cryptically negative, but the fourteen tracks on offer here are progressively more uplifting and mark another note-worthy addition an accessible but intelligent genre. The first trio of tracks are all happy to underwhelm. They are by no means bad tracks, far from it, but distinctly lo-fi and upon repeated listen do not offer the best first impression of a band who has a lot more to offer. Jens Petter Nilsen and Hallvard Wennersberg Hagen form the virtually unpronounceable core of the band (In-between their work with more established and woefully named band Xploding Plastix) and employ the help, throughout the album of various vocalists and percussionists. They choose well; third track ‘Death With Benefits’ is a delightful melange of type-writer clicks, rimshots, triangle and guitar, evoking a wistful desert island, or at the very least a decent beach with a nice cocktail. The second track has a smattering of female vocals, but it’s not until 04 ‘Black Veil Down’ that we hear a full vocal line, fragile but confident, backed with sounds of the orient. This is emblematic really, of a band content to let you distinguish the best moments of their debut without forcing into your consciousness. Perhaps the pedigree of the core members‘ earlier band is responsible; side projects often have a lot less to prove, are often projects undertaken to revive a sense of flattened creativity, and benefit massively for it. deftones off-shoot Team Sleep anyone? IYBN throws up some real treats. It’s at turns touching, usually gentle, and has uniformly great percussion. Moods range from melancholy to wistful but the tunes are infused with a beautiful whimsy and playfulness, never sound contrived but sometimes get a little lost in their own sonic thoughts. If you like Tunng, early Mum, or wished Prefuse were sometimes a little more scandinavian, then you can surely dig this. Perhaps the most pleasantly unusual aspect of this CD is that it gets better as it goes along. Often have I vilified the fantastic albeit top-loaded album that makes the blood rush to your head only to leave you, by the end of the sparse and contrived monumentally epic 10-minute closing dirge, pointedly cold. Despite the aforementioned reticence of The Electones to impress initially, the album builds steadily up to the last track being quite easily the best. Certain tracks might not sound like much in isolation, but the effect of listening to the entire album in one sitting is infinitely more rewarding; a welcome change and one that elevates the album from ‘nice-but-forgettable’ to a definite recommendation. Rating: 7/10 MP3: The Electones - Summer Cloud