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Wednesday 22 May 2024

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The Girl I Left Behind Me – India Electric Company

Nov 13, 2015

Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe, two migratory Devonians with strong ties to Midge (Ultravox) Ure, are the centre of India Electric, the sort of act you just can’t pin down for love nor money. And that’s the very reason they’re so glorious.

You’d expect something quite basic from two lads, one vocal and percussion the other an instrumentalist, but what you expect isn’t what you get. The Girl I Left Behind Me is a haunting collection of atmosphere, textures and layers, malleable approaches and subtly which makes a mockery of genre or any attempt to pigeonhole. On Beirut for instance they mix Argentinian tango with Irish reeling over a salad of instruments, Heimat is jazz for all of about 30 seconds before setting its sights on The Buena Vista Social Club and still ends up somewhere rhythmic and woozy riding a deliciously honky tonk piano line.

Such cultural plundering is beyond cavalier it’s acutely clever, the close intimacy of I Can’t Make You Love Me is where yearning meets spacey Bert Jansch guitar lines before the headlong and almost folkish cloak of My Friends Are Rich an earnest Celtic rush of accordion and fiddle. There’s no holding these boys as they steam roller through myriad influences to create something so distinctive that isn’t roots but is. Okay, so I’m not so sure of the slow dive that is Joanna, Kate and Alice, which to these ears seems out of step with the rest of the album.

The tumbling clap and step of Eyes and Tears restores the mystery though with a dash of mountain music midway through before the echoing Doveman closes out in a fog as thick and enticing as that which swallows the footbridge on the cover. Nowhere is there a hint of who the girl is left behind, presumably in Devon, for such unpredictable adventures in envelope pushing.

Their universe is a fascinating place, go fly with them.

Simon Jones

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