Elastica - Elastica
Britpop, in its heyday, threw up a number of bands who went on to achieve considerable fame and acclaim - Oasis, Blur and Suede to name but three. Yet one band has since almost completely disappeared from the radar. Yet at the time, Elastica, fronted by Damon Albarn's then girlfriend, Justine Frischmann, were among those who were tipped to succeed. Their eponymous debut album charted at number one in the album charts and got nominated for a Mercury Prize. So what happened? Where did it all go wrong?
In truth, there was not a lot of originality in Elastica and there was never going to be enough to sustain a career here. Frischmann's bubbly personality and enthusiastic delivery is not supported by her voice which is generally flat and monotone. As anyone who has sat through a self-important idiot at a karaoke session will tell you, sheer enthusiasm is no substitute for talent. In terms of the music, there is again a lack of originality. The band did not seem to have a full command of their instruments and though they could play their way through the songs on this album, you get the distinct impression that anything more taxing would be beyond the members of the band to achieve.
Indeed it could be argued that the band itself was not one for which originality was all that important. The debut album contained sixteen tracks but if you get the CD now there are only fifteen. That is because the band were sued for plagiarism by both the Stranglers and Wire and one of those bands demanded the song be removed from the CD. Having your debut album the subject of such charges does not help and it is no wonder that it took the band five years to release a follow up by which time the drugs had taken hold of Frischmann and the whole Elastica show spluttered out in forgettable ignominy.
The songs themselves are short, snappy and immediate. This is an album for the moment which is just as well as by the time you have taken the CD out of the player, put it back in its case and put it back on the shelf you have forgotten what it was all about. This was probably intentional, to be fair. The real feature of the album is the snotty attitude which comes through as much in Frischmann's snarling vocals as in the snappy, sharp sound of the guitars. This is what punk rock would have sounded like had it grown up, instead of fading out and morphing into something else. "Vaseline", "Connection" and "Car Song" are all raw sounding sharp and snappy punk tracks which are founded in an almost staccato guitar style which is as brash as it is uneven. This gives the band a certain style, one which I am not sure is appropriate for the nineties. Then again, the band let themselves down with the utterly dreadful "Indian Song". "Blue" is not much better and seems to be the band's realisation that they needed some filler or the album if they were going to insist on releasing an album where the majority of songs clock in around the two minute mark.
In retrospect, it was not hard to see the direction and eventual fate of Elastica. When you combine a lack of originality and a limited degree of ability, it is not surprising that what you are going to get is a punk album and little else. Yet punk was dead. It had died over a decade previously and Elastica's attempt to revive it was never really going to set the world alight.
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on 2011-04-21 CharlesMartel Said:
Elastica won awards for this album. To this day, I do not know how!