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

Various Artists: Lost on the River; The New Basement Tapes (Sony)

Various Artists: Lost on the River; The New Basement Tapes (Sony)

The provenance of these hitherto unknown lyrics by Bob Dylan is discussed in our interview with the album's producer T Bone Burnett, but briefly the story is this: Dylan's publishers approached... > Read more

Various: The Future is Unwritten/Joe Strummer (Sony)

Various: The Future is Unwritten/Joe Strummer (Sony)

True story. Earlier this year after a classical concert in Auckland's Aotea Centre I was introduced to a guy who, in the course of a free-ranging conversation, said he'd met Joe Strummer -- and Joe... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

HERBS, NEW ZEALAND'S POLITICISED REGGAE REVOLUTION INTO THE HALL OF FAME (2012): Hard tings an' times

When Herbs emerged at the start of the 1980s they were a very different band from the avuncular, mainstream entertainers they became. The original five-piece was managed by the former president... > Read more

THE BEATLES; LIVE IN 95: All back to the Beeb

THE BEATLES; LIVE IN 95: All back to the Beeb

It was a curious thing, but in '95 the Beatles released a new single, Baby It’s You, which came on seven-inch vinyl with extra tracks (an EP no less!) and there was an accompanying video.... > Read more