Published on May 3rd, 2017 | by Mike Ainscoe
India Electric Co. – ‘EC1M’ – EP review
INDIA ELECTRIC CO.
a Shoelay Records release
We were pretty keen on India Electric Co’s ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me’ debut album a couple of years back, particularly the ‘My Friends Are Rich’ track which gave the album its title. In the meantime they’ve trodden the festival paths, guested with Midge Ure and had their photo taken with Mark Radcliffe. How do you top that?
Not with working toward a new album but with ‘EC1M’: the first of three themed EPs that Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe are release during 2017. It always seems like a good plan, keeping up the momentum, reducing the gap between releases and staying in the spotlight.
The idea being the plan is to contrast country and city themes in contemporary styles but with the traditional instruments at the core. The first contrast comes from the recording locations – the Victorian Farmiloe Building (Batman film location for trivia buffs) and the 16th Century Sutton House in London’s East End. Add to the mix the vocals recorded in an empty half built Devonshire home and there’s no excuse for not capturing some ambience and atmosphere.
One that takes a hold with some disturbing backwards sounding effects that set the tone on ‘Farmiloe’. It’s the first of five songs that reference all manner of traditional songs but with the contemporary style aim well and truly achieved. ‘The King Of Rome’ celebrates early 20th Century pigeon racing – surely you know the story – if not, check it out and at the same time have a listen to The Unthanks peerless brass band backed version.
However, what really takes their roots in roots music into another direction is ‘Parachutes’ – a stuttering fiddle floats above a cluster of piano notes, threatening to take off but ultimately remaining grounded and retrained. Taking a simple folk starting place and veering off at an opene ended and unrestrained musical tangent is a strategy revisited in ‘Castles In Spain’ which signs off ‘EC1M’. It leaves a real cliffhanger of what’s to follow and speculation over what and how the India electricians will follow up.