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Electribe 101 'Electribal Soul' LP

Electribe 101 'Electribal Soul' LP

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Recorded in 1991 by the quintet of vocalist Billie Ray Martin and Birmingham-based electronic musicians Brian Nordhoff, Joe Stevens, Les Fleming and Roberto Cimarosti, Electribal Soul was conceived as the sequel to the band’s 1990 debut album, Electribal Memories. Electribal Memories had yielded the hits ‘Talking With Myself’ and ‘Tell Me When The Fever Ended’ and pushed Electribe 101 to the forefront of a crossover electronic scene that fused dance music with pop savvy. They were snapped up by Phonogram, managed by Tom Watkins and hailed as “the next band to meet the Queen” by i-D. The band took the coveted support slot for Depeche Mode on their epochal World Violation tour and supported Erasure at Milton Keynes Bowl. Seen as the next big thing, everything pointed toward enduring critical success for Electribe 101, and the band settled into putting their second album together. “There was a degree of confidence among us when we came to write the second album,” recalls Billie Ray Martin. “To me, the songs we put down sound like some of our finest moments.”

More immediately lush and warm than the dancefloor-friendly structures of Electribal Memories, the clue to the sound of Electribal Soul lies in the second word in its title: soul. Songs like the aching sensuality of opening track ‘Insatiable Love’ or the emboldened defiance of ‘Moving Downtown’ showcase Billie Ray Martin’s distinctive vocal range as it moves from haunting quiet to dramatic, euphoric rapture. Lyrics from ‘Moving Downtown’ had found their way into ‘Pimps, Pushers, Prostitutes’ by S’Express, and the song would appear as ‘Running Around Town’ on Martin’s 1996 solo album. The strikingproduction on the version of the song presented on Electribal Soul suggests classic late sixties soul influences, such as those of legendary Motown producer Norman Whitfield, with the long shadow cast by Kraftwerk never being far away. ‘Deadline For My Memories’, the song that provided the title for Martin’s first solo album, was originally intended for the second Electribe 101 album. Its lyrics document a sense of freedom and liberation from the darkness of a bad relationship, accompanied by jazzy piano and organ sounds over a quiet rhythm and discrete electronics. In contrast, ‘A Sigh Won’t Do’ finds Martin in soothing vocal mode, despite its devastating message about the final ending of a strained relationship, her lyrics framed by restrained and subtle beats and sounds. To spend time with Martin’s voice on Electribal Soul is to find yourself moved deep into the ordinarily impenetrable emotional corners of your own psyche. “I was into big ballads at the time and listening to all kinds of US and UK singers, and I was also young enough to want to prove myself as a belter of ballads,” explains Martin of the classic soul edge the album showcased.


Catalogue number: TRIBE2

Condition: New

Label: Electribal Records

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