Electrajets: Transatlantic Tales (Tarbeach Records)
New Yawk punk and roll royalty with debut (and final!) album. Joe Whyte gets the lowdown.
In one thing of an pretty much great bit of synchronicity/terrible luck, NYC’s Electrajets released this debut album and split up due to the ill wellness of guitarist/vocalist Jeff Ward actually as it hit the shelves. Jeff is fortunately convalescing in Panama while the band have now dissolved. I guess if you are a band that is gonna release a single album and split, its fitting that it is a single as completely formed as this a single.
Electrajets had been Jeff Ward who’d been in UK-primarily based glam-punkers Gunfire Dance ahead of relocating to NYC some years ago to create and ending up collaborating with the good and superior of the city’s punk scene bassist Cynthia Ross was in The B-Girls (who toured with The Clash) and is presently in the mighty New York Junk- she is also the fresh-faced blonde girl in that infamous bit of footage of Sid and Nancy on public access Television with her then beau Stiv Bators which predates the messy finish of Nancy in the Chelsea Hotel and Sid’s subsequent arrest and death. The drummer is Dahm Majuri Cipolla who is also a multi-instrumentalist with Phantom Household Halo.
The album is a mish-mash of influences, some clear, some much less so. The opening 4am Strangeways has the platform-booted footprints of Bolan, Bowie and Ronson writ huge across it and that glam-stomp drum beat is evident all through the record. It does not sound specifically retro or cheesy, having said that there’s a slightly sinister and dare-I-say-it downright nasty edge to the songs which is at odds with the superior-time bonhomie of most of the glam of the seventies. I suppose it is the dirt, sleaze and grit of NYC that pervades the songs it is challenging, I guess, to prevent obtaining that tiny tiny bit of cynical cool when you have spent most of your life there.
There is also a tiny bit of the poetry of Jim Carroll and Patti Smith’s Rimbaud-summoning in Ross’s Darkness scraping viola and her close to-whispered vocal give a taste of breathless nighttime and a creeping paranoia.
How Could You (B Girl) nods to Ross’s preceding adventures and is a swooning piece of psych-pop with Ward’s falsetto vocals and the bands delicate, blues-y sway. Sonic Ray produced me believe of a punk rock Nick Drake with it is gentle textures and pulsing rhythms. One particular would anticipate a band with a pedigree such as theirs to be all Dolls swagger and Johnny Thunders bluster but they’ve avoided that in favour of this lots of-hued beast.
New York Junk released a single of my albums of 2015 in Doin’ Time In New York City and this a single-off from Electrajets is undoubtedly settling into prime position this year.
Get ’em ahead of they’re gone.
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Assessment by Joe Whyte DTK