Friday 13 April 2012

Elias - Fossils

Album review by KevW

Vancouver trio Elias are clearly aiming for big things with their new album 'Fossils'. They pull no punches and no expense is spared on achieving their goals. It gives the impression that they may be trying a little too hard, however it's difficult to knock such grand ambitions when they've so obviously made the record they wanted to make. Whether the world at large wanted them to make it is a different matter, with this brand of chest-beating, stadium-shaped indie-rock being deeply unfashionable at the present time.

Still, Elias hold nothing back, taking inspiration from British rock bands such as Muse, Radiohead and Oasis, and some of what's on 'Fossils' will appeal to fans of those bands' more commercial work. Unfortunately other reference points may be the widescreen engineered-for-radio unit-shifters of The Killers and - worryingly on the likes of 'Knockdown Dance' - Savage Garden. Yes it's a fine line and Elias cross it a few times on these ten tracks which are all constructed using arena-sized choruses and wind tunnel production.

It's a bit of a shame really, as when they nail it some of these songs can withstand the weight of the sheen and genuinely seem powerful, albeit in a guilty pleasure kind of way; a little bit like The Manic Street Preachers at their most pompous and minus the political edge (see 'Lake Louise' or 'Catapults'). 'Fossils' and 'Hands & Knees' boast the sort of fist-pumping qualities that many wannabe rock stars would kill for and at points there's even the passing scent of Bruce Springsteen's every-man rock anthems. There is a talent here but it gets buried under the weight of its own ambition and you can't help but feel that if they toned things down and let the songs breathe they'd be sitting on a much more palatable record.

Free download: 'Hands & Knees'

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