Friday, August 31, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 278 - Elastica - Elastica

 (apologies in advance..spell check is/was down)

Album – Elastica
Artist – Elastica
Key Players – Justin Welch – Drums. Annie Holland – Bass. Donna Matthews – Vocals and Guitar. Justine Frischmann – Vocals and Guitar.
Produced By – Marc Waterman and Elastica

Release Date – March 14, 1995

What caused me to blow off the dust? - I think diversity honestly. I don't tend to get to a ton of female fronted bands and really need to be more rounded.

Overview – This is the debut album from “Elastica”. Formed in 1992 by ex-Suede member Frischmann and Welch. By 1993 the band had cut a few tracks and played a series of shows. Frischmann also made the news in the UK for being romantically linked with Damon Albarn from the band Blur. Their debut (this record) was released and was the fastest selling debut album in UK history at the time. The band would struggle with plagiarism accusations, but would go on to have a successful tour. After a second album and a few singles the band decided to call it quits in 2001.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – We are in and out of this record in just over 40 minutes. The first of the sixteen tracks is “Line Up”. It slowly builds with the two guitars and then Welch and Holland are heard as dominant instruments. Frischmann begins to sing but it feels a little buried in the mix. The band has a bit of punk vibe to them. The guitars just chop as the bass and drums continue to lay the ground work. It feels a little slow at times though but speed is made up shortly. “Annie” clocks in at just 1:15. The guitar chords punch through and again Holland and Welch shine. Holland seems to make something out of nothing with a bit more of a complex bass fill. Welch just hammers forth and Matthews and Frischmann seem to be battling with the guitars. The song that many would recognize comes in “Connection”. The big bass swoop with the guitars is a 90's alternative stand out. The song has a lot of angst to it, and the band is willing to follow suit. The guitars are big but Welch seems to want to keep things from gettng out of hand quickly and keeps the tempo very even. The guitar line is the hook that pulls you in, but Holland reminds you off that bass note a bunch of times. “Car Song” is another that got some moderate air play on alternative radio. This track is another one that is on the slower side, but when you listen the band is doing a lot. The guitar lines are more focused, and you can hear one guitar vs. the other. We also get hints of backing vocals on the track as well. The bass work from Holland continues to impress. With tracks this short, she takes it upon herself to really spread out and show her chops. The punk guitar riff opens “Smile” and we get the 1-2-3-4 count off and the band launches in to the 3 chord romp. Tracks like this add a good blend on the record and keep things interesting I find. It is quick and to the point, but that is okay. “Hold Me Now” has Welch taking the lead as the lone instrument before Holland joins in. The guitars arrive then the vocals. The track is sung a litte monotone, but as the bride appears there is more of a grind to the guitar which is nice. We keep the pounding of the drums as “S.O.F.T.” rolls out. All the guitars screetch to a halt and it just the vocals with Holland on the bass. Everyone comes back in and it crashes along. This is the second to longest track on the record, but it is still inside 4 minutes. It is nice they have a little longer of a track to spread out some. There are extended, (well as extended as you can be) guitar parts and it just makes it more interesting to listen to. “Indian Song” finds keyboard as the first instrument before the bass and drum begin. It sits on the same progression for a bit with keyboard fills seeming to be the focus. The guitars are restrained for much, only working at times to shake the chains, it keeps working to, but never does. Again, guitars seem to struggle to get off the ground as “Blue” begins. Vocals are very hushed and the band seems to be un-interested, then all of a sudden you are hit with the down beat from Welch and it takes off. We haven't been this quick in a few tracks. “All-Nighter” is another very punk fueled song, with the guitars buzzing and the bass chugging. These moments really showcase the talents of the band I feel. They can be quick, but still find a nice melody and progression. The dual guitar intro to “Waking Up” is solid and Holland wants to play along so in she comes. The band comes together and the vocals are underway. The tempo is quick, but the lyric delivery is a little slower. The keyboards return on this track filling out the sound. Longer tracks like this, as noted, provide the room and the band is quick to show off some. Welch seems in no hurry as “2:1” gets underway. Holland answers for a few bars before the guitars start. Another mid tempo (vocally wise) track. The guitars still have the tradmark buzz. “See That Animal” has Holland and Welch having a work out right from the start. The guitar parts are cut tight and the bass is bright and full of punch, even during the vocals you can really hear the bass part. “Stutter” has heavily supressed guitars and, as we like, the punk rock tempo. It quickly gets underway and its easy to hear why this made the radio as well. An angstly female fronted band..whats not to like? This would have been a solid album opener, but it is a solid track in the mix of the record. The longest track on the disc (4:27) comes in “Never Here”. The guitars feed off one another as the bass and drums are crisp and tight (as always). The ladies seem more comfortable with the vocal expectations here. They seem to layer better and work together for some solid harmonies. They close out the record with “Vaseline” a 1:20 long track that seems slow, but with the big chords and drum hits it takes right off. It sounds very pop punk and is fun to listen to. A decent album closer.

Where are they now? - Holland left the band in 1995 due to the rigors of touring, but would rejoin the band.  Matthews formed a band shortly before their demise, formed a band but that project fell flat.  According to her Wiki page she is taking college courses.  Welch married the touring keyboardist for the band and is currently working on a project with James Atkin who was the singer in EMF.  Frischmann worked with her roomate M.I.A on her 2003 album,  She is now married and lives in the US.  She is an artist.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I saw the band as part of Lollapaloosa 1995. July 25, 1995 at Great Woods in Mansfield MA. I thought the band stuggled on this tour. I'd need to research some more to be sure. Cypress Hill, Hole and Sonic Youth were all part of this version as well.

FDF Overall Take – There are some really great moments on this record and reviews (both critics and fans) are very positive. I like the longer tracks a bit more. Sure a quick run is all fine and good but they are quick to showcase what they can/could do. Worthy of a listen

You can hear some stuff on Myspace

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Connection  live from Letterman
Car Song

Out of print, but still pretty easy to find.  Start here

Disclaimer – I am just a music fan. Feel free to comment about something that may be written incorrectly about the band/members etc. I strive to have a fun and enjoyable site. This site used to post mp3s but ran in to many issues. The audio clips provided are usually from YouTube. No copy write infringement is intended. Please alert me if something should be pulled. Finally, support the artist featured, or your favorite artist by purchasing their music, seeing their shows if possible and saying hi. They need your support.


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