India Electric Co – EC1M

EP Review | Shoelay | Review by Steve Henderson | Stars: 4/5

The day that downloads entered our music world, the game not only changed for listeners but musicians too. If you want evidence that the album concept died at that point (or, at least, took a long lay down on a couch), just check out how Ed Sheeran dominated the singles charts with the release of his last ‘album’. As listeners enjoy the freedom of just downloading the tracks they like, it became obvious that bundling a few tracks together for release needn’t require forty minutes or so of music. Step to the front of the queue, India Electric Co, whose cunning plan is to release three EPs in 2017 contrasting musical themes from both country and city. Already having created a buzz with their debut album release, The Girl I Left Behind Me, their first flirtation with a shorter format of twenty minutes is the city influenced EC1M. Yes, why not name the five track EP after the postcode that inspired the opening track, Farmiloe? Slipping and sliding, the track is beguiling with its staccato strings and an accordion that comes in and out as does the link into a found sound recorded in Paris. Drawing from the traditional song “Farewell He” and American poet E.E.Cummings, you’ll get the picture that this duo is not only adept at arranging their music but well-read enough to provide a heady mixture for the music fan. As “Parachutes” floats in, that staccato feel hovers again in a way reminiscent of how Kraftwerk keep their songs in motion except that Joseph O’Keefe is happy to layer a fiddle over the rhythm along with Cole Stacey’s delicate vocal. “Camelot” has that same European feel and it’s no surprise that the duo has been not only backing Midge Ure but also opening his shows. Their sound has that continental flavour that Ure’s Ultravox outfit favoured and I’d imagine that our old European friends will drool over this combination. Perhaps not surprising, then, that the final tracks “The King of Rome” and “Castles in Spain” namecheck European destinations in songs that also have that layered sound where folk meets jazz meets pop as if on some kind of steadily moving musical travellator. You can really imagine listening to this in the car or some other leisurely travel situation. My one difficulty is that the style does dominate in a way that might wear you down in a longer format but, hey, five tracks of inventive music from a duo that seems packed with talent. Why should I complain?