By: Daniel Rooney
[Editor’s notes in red for tonal consistency]
Scottish author William Boyd said that limbo is a tolerable place to be stuck.
Actually, I don’t know if he said it. He may have written it. It’s attributed to him anyway, though I haven’t really verified it. In fact, I don’t even know if Boyd identifies as Scottish, given that he was born in Ghana and now lives in Oxford. At the end of the day it’s up to Boyd, none of my business and perhaps completely irrelevant. It is however the only quote I could find that would facilitate a segue (albeit a clumsy one) into a review of Chicago outfit The Electric Excuse Me’s’ two track offering Limbo. [The band’s choice to make “Me’s” possessive makes proper grammar a literal paradox when describing any of their material #logisticallyshittybandnames]
There’s no bio on The Electric Excuse Me’s band camp page, and google only enlightens us to the fact that they supported The Newbury’s Albany EP release back in September 2015 [time-traveling noise rockers] at Chicago’s Debonair Social Club. There’s nothing to be found on Youtube either, which is a bit of a shame as Limbo suggests The Electric Excuse Me’s would be great live. Their raw sounding January 2015 demo, This Shit Ain’t Groovy, Baby, available on the band’s bandcamp page, reveals The Electric Excuse Me’s to be Michael Orellana on Vocals & Guitar and Connor Moran on drums. I don’t know who put the bass down for Limbo but I’m hoping they play live with an unlisted third member as the low end is an important element of their sound.
Limbo opens with Night-Day, which has a real Jesus and Mary Chain feel – sounding something like JAMC’s Darklands, if JAMC had been more of a garage band [i.e. cymbals mixed too high and guitars are sometimes out of tune], but with the energy of Psychocandy. Prominent in the mix is Moran bashing away on the drums – there’s a manic energy in his thumping, and his enthusiastic cymbal crashing provides a blissful static backdrop to Orellana’s distorted murky crooning. At times things sound a little erratic and precarious but they hold it together; the slight tempo shift in the bridge doesn’t sound as though it should work, but before you can be sure whats happening it’s over. Night-Day is a romp, a wade in sound, kind of speedy – a good opener and something I’d like to hear live.
Limbo’s second track Midnight is a distinctive departure from Night-Day, with a sound more akin to Television or Suicide. A welcome surprise, given that a lot of garage punk these days seems to follow the Nickleback school of song writing, The Electric Excuse Me’s aren’t a band in the business of formulaic sameness.
As with Night-Day there are spaces and slight lulls, however, unlike Night-Day, there is no question that these spaces work; you are hearing the soul of The Electric Excuse Me’s. Like the evening sun dripping from the dome of a copper topped mosque [slow down pitchfork], Orellana’s jangling but never abrasive guitar and Moran’s understanding and restrained beat dazzle and chime – the two wander in and out, dancing like the murmurings of a seasoned drunk poet. There is a fragility there that isn’t present in Night-Day, a sense of art and cohesion, of sound as narrative. The graceful dissipation of the song is lovely (that sounds trite, but it is truly beautiful) and Midnight oozes a lush sincerity. There’s a singular communion, a real sense of authenticity and sentiment that makes Midnight interesting and exciting.
While bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Television and Suicide are bought to mind by Limbo, they serve only as points of reference. The Electric Excuse Me’s offering is not derivative, not formulaic; there is a uniqueness to Limbo, particularly in Midnight, which suggests there are good things to come from Orellana and Moran. The bass question is a bit of a puzzler; I’m hoping they have a bass player – if they want to develop their sound and live up to the potential Limbo suggests they have they’re going to need one. [This is the part where you tie in your weird Boyd intro into the contents of the review so that review has a framing device and not just a impotent introduction] Anyway, I’ll be keeping an ear out for them, and an eye, especially on youtube. It’d be great if they developed more of an online presence. If you’re in Chicago, you keep an eye out too.