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Eltro | Velodrome (Absolutely Kosher)
There aren't enough records about bikes. The world and his wife have written about cars, but the humble cycle has been neglected by rock and roll. I'm not sure what this CD has to do with the machine the album artwork and title are dedicated to, but it's a start and a gentle one it gets off to. Warming up slowly with Some Vital Function, spoken words waves of guitars ease you along until Say It ups the pace and gearing with its Talking Heads chopping rhythms and keyboards. It gets the legs moving nicely, preparing you for the uphill of Come To Me In Silence, the tempo dropping as a result and a mechanical beat takes, pacing you along with repetitive whispers of "fantastic visions" to pull you higher. Your oxygen starved brain reels from the dual vocals of Three Gorges, Damn which plateaus along, the electronic wibbles adding to the disorientation. Downhill now to Vera Wang, the speed increasing, voices, guitars and electronica coming thick and fast, swooping from side to side. Catch your breath to Center with its gentle hum and now you're in your stride. The miles glide by with the ever changing strumming and bleeps matching your cadence, from gentle climbs to tree lined avenues all accompanied by the plaintive vocals, both male and female. It's not a taxing ride, maybe it would have been nicer to test your fitness a bit more, you'll never be yearning for more or less gears, but it's enough to blow off the cobwebs and provide a nice change of scenery from the day to day. The return leg of Denver International provides more Heads moments with its loops and whoops, allowing you to warm down nicely on the freewheel to home. More songs about spokes and sprockets please.

Laurence Arnold
November 2001