The Power

Electrelane's album The Power Out has come back into rotation for me in a big way lately, and it's similar to this new White Magic song (and the album in general) in a way that I already touched on in this review (a review in which I used so many big words, which I have a tendency to do when I'm really excited about something but have to write about it quickly, that one reader felt compelled to write me an email where he repeatedly let me know about my head's similarity to a dick in no uncertain terms. I will never understand how free, web-based content can send some people into such proprietary rage, but I hope this angry reader finds some peace.)

At any rate, like Electrelane, White Magic introduce incantations of a spiritual, almost Gregorian character to kinky indie rock, bending broad, open intervals of pure vocal transportation over woozily tilting arrangments. I'm really into noise / drone based music right now (and, as if in direct response to this predilection, I'm also really feeling the simplest acoustic-based stuff imaginable). It strikes me that music like White Magic and Electrelane massage the same pleasure-receptors that noise does, however improbable this might seem. What both styles of music get at is the sanctity of sound in an of itself, outside of whatever content it might carry; the holiness of sending out waves for no other purpose than the hope that maybe they'll come bouncing back. Rock music is about the domination of sound, about virtuosity and ideology and physical dexterity, about pummeling sound into submission to human desires. Noise-based music is often rock's polar opposite, and its reverence is a relationship to sound that makes sense to me right now. White Magic splits the difference, at heart -- its ramshackle construction prioritizes the inexorable above the imposed structure, and its prayerful vocals verge on speaking-in-tongues mysticism, less concerned with telling us something than with opening up a space in which we can actually hear.