A+E Line - Train Wrecks
Reviewed by Ben on 6th August 2006
A+E Line's first foray onto this website was by way of their single "Christopher Walken", which was pleasantly received by the staff here; if not for it's choice of topic but it was something different coming from a swarm of acoustic acts. Many of us pondered what next would come from the eccentric two-piece - more acoustic tracks... perhaps a foray into more folky style numbers??
To my surprise, I was met with possibly one the quirkiest independent releases this year. And without a doubt, one that is very hard to dislike immensely. With a timely Intro, proclaiming the act as "The Fantastic A+E Line" (and it's subsequent retort from the caller), the song launches into foot tapping indie-pop album opener Time Time Time, with the sometimes off-key vocals a stark contrast to the catchy electric guitar riff and the almost childlike chorus. All preconceptions of a folk rock band were blown away by the time Too Much Time neurotic acoustic-cum-electropop beat infused paved the way for the somewhat grunge-meets-Lib's Lisa's Gotta Have It The past two examples exemplify the fact that A+E Line's niche is combining the experimental (some may call it avant-garde) approach to their music with the pop nounce that could make them adored by those not accustomed to forms of art-rock.
Christopher Walken to this day still brings a smile to my face, even after giving it several listens (I'm a sucker for a reference to Waynes World), as this is antecedent to the tub-thumper Club Fabulous, a song where it becomes obvious that if (or should that be when) the band picks up a sufficient following, the singalong section of the track will be the guitar in wah-pedal mode. Short Story is a spoken word track that is one part post-rock and one part video game music you'd find bundled on a Nintendo Entertainment System cartridge. It's like the ranting of a madman while The Legend of Zelda is perpetually stuck in battle mode in the background. It is with this track you can view the fact that maybe A+E Line aren't a simple oddity act - perhaps, alongside their live show (emphasis on the fact it isn't a gig - with performance art occurring onstage, calling it a gig would be an injustice), an art-rock movement similar to Dadaism?
Very deep... wouldn't you say?
Those theories fade away with the advent of Never Let You Go, which contains elements of something not unlike industrial, with a almost noir guitar segment. I Scream Driver nods to Iggy and The Stooges; this is one of, if not the only straight up rock track on the album, even though the subject matter regards how much they would like ice cream. If anyone within the band feels the need to foray into something on the side, this track would suggest a garage rock/proto-punk project would be in order. The final oddity is feel good electro-acoustic Summer Sun, which just further compounds the eccentricity of the band.
A+E Line's debut album plays out like an art exhibition, which contains various pieces from abstract, to dark coloured murals and then borderline Dali installations. It is as exciting as it is idiosyncratic as the maverick duo display a proficiency in weaving the nonsensical with the melodic. Art-rock may need to make room from A+E Line....
Sonic Youth they may not be.... but for those who enjoy the jocular antics of Devo, this band may be Britain's (sorely needed) answer. And for the record, Roboto-Chan is the name of their metallic drum kit. So now you know!
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