Electric Wire Hustle – Electric Wire Hustle review

A future-soul sensation from Wellington, New Zealand that have supported Alice Russell, DJ Krush, Peanut Butter Wolf and Dam Funk in their short career, this self-titled album on BBE is their debut and is a bold, brave and very beautiful voyage through all manner of spacey and soulful sounds.

Opener “Waters” provides a thrillingly knife-edged start, with bass and off-kilter drums laying down a downbeat rhythm while singer MaraTK lays down a thick blanket of seductive cooing over the top. “Experience” continues in the same vein, with thumping filter-bass (reminiscent of The Bar-Kays’ “Holy Ghost”) giving it a really hard-hiting and dynamic swagger. Not averse to all manner of sonic experimentation, the drums on “Again” are reversed while a looped and dissonant string-drone gives it an eerie, aquatic vibe. Stacey Epps takes the lead on brilliant “Walk On” which dramatically shifts midway from being a woozy ballad to breaking into crunchy, ’70s-riffing guitars. The slow balladry continues on the gorgeous low-down soul of “Buy Some Land & Put a House On It”, this time seeing MaraTK riding some exquisite Marvin Gaye/Curtis Mayfield falsettos over string crescendos and some huge nu-jazz beats.

While the majority of the album is slow, sleek and very very soulful, there’s enough variety to really make this a distinctive debut. In particular, the addition of Stones Throw mainstay Georgia Anne Muldrow on “This World”, or the fun rocking guitars of “Burn”. The supreme Motown-isms of “They Don’t Want” is yet another highlight – aping those classic drum sounds to perfection, and the closing “Tom Boy” evokes Al Green without sounding cheesy or contrived for a second. A fantastic and very assured debut, this is a must for soul fans – from Smokey Robinson to Jamie Lidell.

Oliver Keens