Electric Wire Hustle: Love Can Prevail (Every Waking Hour)

 |   |  1 min read

Electric Wire Hustle: By and Bye
Electric Wire Hustle: Love Can Prevail (Every Waking Hour)

Last month this album -- EWH down now from a trio to Mara TK and David "Taay Ninh" Wright -- got a very nice notice in the New York Times, noting their "knotty, disorienting studio fabrications, surrounding hand-played R&B" are "descendants of [Marvin Gaye's] What’s Going On".

True, inasmuch as problems with love and God become intertwined Marvin-style and the songs are deeply saturated in soul, albeit coloured by addictively widdly electronica.

They effortless bridge classic soul and contemporary beats, but there's something more about them, and that's their lyrics which seem utterly heartfelt and somehow very New Zealand.

Not many US or UK acts would sing, "In the light of Sunday morning I ran away from church with a love not for keeping . . . said goodbye to Grandma, she made it to the rest, through great wars and great depression but not the cigarettes . . . she said, 'Hold onto your life, don't let it get away . . . where did I go wrong?".

To me that song 5.Loveless sounds very Pasifika (I may be mishearing "made it to the rest") and comes in a sad delivery that is over subtle morphing beats and 3D production of electronica, vocals and guitar.

And the percussion which drives By and Bye is also grounded in a log drum tradition at some level as Maka addresses God directly: "We've had enough of by and bye, if you're out there God now would be a good time to say 'Hi' and pick me up . . ."

Much of the attention on the band right now has been on their associations (?uestlove of the Roots, Gilles Peterson etc) but it's easy to let that deflect from the music, which is sophisticated and extremely clever without being clever-clever. Look in the Sky is an object lesson in minimalism-maximalism.

The six-minute Light Goes a Long Way is ambitious but not an entirely successful cosmic journey, but done with enough confidence to suggest another direction once they've figured out the actual co-ordinates. 

Expanded to a four-piece for some live shows but finely drilled down to just the duo for writing (and some soundsystem club shows), EWH have stepped way up on this collection which is almost genre-blind but astutely inclusive. 

This is an adult album on every level which could appeal equally to fans of Marvin Gaye, the most sophisticated end of Simply Red and our own Grace as much as young beatmakers looking for a context broader than they are familiar with. Spiritual quests, yearning, urgency (as on The Spirit) and doubt rarely sounded so hip.

I suspect this is a better album than even they think they've made. 

A real keeper. 


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

John Scofield: Piety Street (Universal)

John Scofield: Piety Street (Universal)

Guitarist John Scofield -- previously interviewed at Elsewhere and who played blinding free jazz at times when he appeared here with saxophonist Joe Lovano last year -- is either a music chameleon... > Read more

Surf City: Jekyll Island (Fire/Southbound)

Surf City: Jekyll Island (Fire/Southbound)

On previous albums the Auckland-bred but now much traveled Surf City delivered increasingly impressive opening salvoes and you heard an increasing confidence . . . and a band finding its own voice.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

TICKET, HALF-REMEMBERED (2010): Hair today and gone until tomorrow

TICKET, HALF-REMEMBERED (2010): Hair today and gone until tomorrow

Two things I remember clearly about Ticket: their hair was long and their songs were even longer. And back in the early 70s those were two very good things indeed. In truth I don't... > Read more

JOHN LENNON, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED (2010):

JOHN LENNON, REMASTERED AND RECONSIDERED (2010):

In what would be one of his final interviews around the release of Double Fantasy in late 1980, John Lennon said – as a married, settled man at 40 with a young child – he was... > Read more