INDIA ELECTRIC CO. – Seven Sisters (Shoelay Music SHMU32)

Seven SIstersThe only thing wrong with this record is that there isn’t enough of it; only six tracks even though one of them is long. Many readers will be familiar with India Electric Co but for those who haven’t yet had that good fortune let me fill you in. They are Cole Stacey, lead vocalist and percussionist and Joseph O’Keefe who plays all sorts of instruments but here confines himself to violin, piano, guitar, accordion and percussion. Seven Sisters is either their second album after The Girl I Left Behind Me or their second EP after EC1M – I’ll go for the latter – and the title comes from one of the tunes in that long track I mentioned.

The material all started out as traditional and the instrumental stayed that way but the others have been heavily adapted. I had to do some research into the opening track, ‘The Gulley’. It turns out to be a blend of a nineteenth century poem, Alice Gray (much reworked), and a hornpipe, ‘Rusty Gulley’. It’s a remarkably big sound for two musicians to produce with O’Keefe’s violin dancing over the song. ‘Take The Buckles’ is a take on ‘The Shearing’s Not For You’ with some great lines that were never in the original and ‘Chaos’ again left me puzzled. The thrust of it is that we are responsible for screwing up our planet but I’ve no idea how it started life.

‘The Cuckoo’s Nest (My Generous Lover)’ mixes the familiar tune of the former with a version of the latter probably from A L Lloyd originally but which has developed and changed over the last fifty years. The instrumental set follows and the record ends with a version ‘Flash Company’. This is often sung as a chorus but India Electric Co slow it right down to bring out the melancholy of the lyrics which, again, have been adapted to the band’s needs.

Musically, India Electric Co do some remarkable things with these songs and what they do may not be to everyone’s taste but there is no doubt that they can play and that they have some great ideas.

Dai Jeffries

Artists’ website:

‘The Gulley’ – official video: