The Wharves — Electa (4th November 2016)

The Wharves — Electa (4th November 2016)

 The Wharves — Electa (4th November 2016)  The Wharves — Electa (4th November 2016)♣   Gemma Fleet, Dearbhla Minogue and Marion Andrau are bewitching trio The Wharves.  The new album Electa, their second, looks sure to make best of lists at the end of this year. Assured, eccentric and charming, it fuses a variety of styles to immense effect, wrapped around dizzying harmonies and frenetic drumming.Location: Grange School, Aylesbury ~ London, UK ~ Université Paris III ~ Sorbonne Nouvelle, France
Genre: Alternative
Album release: 4th November 2016
Record Label: Gringo
Duration:     43:45
01. The Strike     3:10
02. Rays Of Light     3:04
03. John The Stitcher     4:40
04. L’autre     3:05
05. Venus of Hornchurch     2:48
06. Old Friend     5:09
07. Sweet Merry Time     3:57
08. Well Well Well     3:56
09. Holy Maid     1:20
10. Your Lies are Fun     3:56
11. Lived or Died     4:36
12. My Will     3:49
Ξ   Marion Andrau
Ξ  Gemma Fleet
Ξ  Dearbhla Minogue
guitarist, vocalist.
♣   500 copies on transparent clear vinyl. Reverse~board printed sleeve with inside printed inner~sleeve and large hole. Comes with digital download code.
♣   1000 copies on CD with digipack sleeve.
♣   Recorded and mixed by Bratwell Recordings at Lightship95. Mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering. Pressing information:
♣   The Wharves return with their second long~player. Entitled Electa and recorded once again with Rory Attwell, the trio build on last year’s ‘Naz’ 7” on Upset the Rhythm, refining their distinctive sound with increasingly notable elements of heavy rock and folk. Three part vocal harmonies remain staple to the format, underpinning a progressive instrumental step~up.
♣   Hailing from Ireland, France and England, The Wharves combine gracefully minimal psyche~rock with fuzzed out folk. They invoke the reverberated spook of 60’s groups, the mid~fi guitar crunch of Kim Deal’s The Amps, the sisterly vocal harmonies of The Roches and the narrative and structural panache of 70’s progressive folk. Thunderous drumming drives through these compositions, ensuring the wealth of disparate influences remain focused and celebratory.
♣   On Electa, Dearbhla Minogue’s much~lauded guitar work navigates more inventively than ever around the tight and melodic rhythm section delivered with all the gusto and trust of a band five years into playing together.
♣   Songwriting duties are democratic as always, with drummer Marion Andrau delivering two atmospheric and personal stand~outs (‘Your Lies are Fun’, ‘L’autre’) that reveal an entire new dimension of possibility for the group.
♣   Utilising the twenty~piece all~female ‘Rebel Choir’ on immense closer ‘My Will’, usual bass~player Gemma Fleet takes to the guitar and leads the ensemble to unite a powerful crescendo that defines Electa’s confident feel: a rock record not afraid to experiment, without ever losing the singular identity The Wharves have created for themselves.
Words by Gemma Samways
♣   On 2014’s ‘At Bay’, The Wharves delighted in defying expectations of DIY indie-pop, interpolating ‘60s girl~group harmonies alongside elements of prog, psych and folk. The formula hasn’t changed much second time round. Producer Rory Attwell returns to lend a deceptively homespun veneer to the work of three adept and versatile musicians, whilst ensuring this set of songs, which switches styles with alacrity, remains cohesive.
♣   On the latter score, ‘Electa’ is every inch as playful as its predecessor, segueing between 4AD~inspired dream~pop, portentous folk, and fuzzy power~pop~meets~prog~rock, in a random~sample three~song run. Also as per ‘At Bay’, the trio’s tight~knit harmonies are captivating, but there’s more diversity within these. One moment their keening uh-ohs resemble Sleater~Kinney (‘John The Stitcher’), the next they’re showcasing lilting vibratos to rival The Unthanks’ (‘Venus Of Hornchurch’).
♣   Ultimately, this refusal to be pigeonholed proves a strength but also a weakness, charming the listener with variety in the short~term, but leaving no enduring impression of The Wharves’ identity.  ♣
Written by  Kenneth McMurtrie, 01 November, 2016 / Score: *****
♣   Some fine tribal drumming Marion Andrau gets the ball rolling on ‘The Strike’, the opening track of Electa, album number two from The Wharves. The strong vocal harmonies and ringing guitars you’ll know from their previous efforts are once more there in spades but they’ve built on them, even since last year’s ‘Naz’ single. There’s seemingly more of everything as evinced on the acid folk of ‘L’autre’ alongside the weightier, ‘90s guitar parts strewn elsewhere amongst the dozen tracks.
♣   If, like me you found the recent Teenage Fanclub album to be dull and disappointing then Electa should go some way to improving your mood, sounding as it often does like a female version of the older band’s better, younger output. Elsewhere Miranda Sex Garden come readily to mind due to those sweet, intertwining vocals and the gothic undercurrent that is never far from the surface, such as on fifth song ‘Venus Of Hornchurch’.
♣   ‘Sweet Merry Time’ lets things down slightly as the vocals at times found a bit off and the general thumping along of the tune feels rather formulaic and not on the same level as the other songs on offer but it’s a drop in form easily forgotten as the album moves on to ‘Well Well Well’.
♣   Employing the talents of the twenty voices of the Rebel Choir on final track ‘My Will’ further shows off the greater breadth of sound the band have decided to explore on Electa and proves a great showcase for their own versatility with Gemma Fleet moving from bass to guitar duties. Experimentation in rock is alive and well & comfortably existing with The Wharves right now. ♣
Spoilt Victorian Child • November 1, 2016 •
Anna Peaker:
Brattwell Recordings:
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The Wharves — Electa (4th November 2016)


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