Since seeing Elasea for the first time supporting Funeral For A Friend they've definitely been a band I've held in high regard. They put on brilliant live performances and have such a visceral passion for the music, which are both attitudes I appreciate bands having. When the band contacted me and asked if I'd like to review their new EP, 'Where I Belong', I had to say yes - I just couldn't help wondering whether their recorded tracks could live up to my high expectations.
Opening track 'Glass Heart' sounds just as good as it does live, which automatically sets a high bar for the rest of this EP; three of these songs are ones that I've already heard, so I'm already attached to them. Sometimes songs work much better live and don't translate well on to a recording, but this is not one of those problems - it's just as flawlessly performed. The chorus is addictive, the lyrics utterly catchy, and I really do enjoy this one.
'Where I Belong' is by far the most pop-punk of Elasea's songs; the intro is a hybrid of Four Year Strong and Neck Deep, and there's a brilliant section in the middle that is just made to be clapped along to live. As the title track of the EP you'd expect it to be similar to the other songs, but it's remarkably different - you can still tell that it's Elasea because of Andy Bradford's distinctive vocal tone, but other than that it could be a completely different band. It's good to see the band stretching themselves; no two songs on this EP sound the same, and bands with less experience under their belts often stick too closely to a set formula once they've written one good song.
'Lost In The Dark' is definitely my favourite Elasea song - it stood out for me when seeing them live, and after the release of the music video earlier this month it's stayed firmly stuck in my head. The split vocals at the end of the song (with Liv Jones contributing vocals and Simon Jackman guest starring on the song) really add an extra layer, sending shivers down my spine, giving me goosebumps - all those cliches, but it's true that they do. There's not a single thing I can fault about this song, and I still think it's an arena-worthy track - mind-blowing to have been achieved at this stage of the band's career.
'Time Is Against Us' is one of the heavier songs on the EP; the vocal switches between a growl and a softer sound, reminding me of We Are The Ocean back when they still had Dan Brown as a co-vocalist. This is also an amazingly catchy song - Elasea have a talent with lyrics and know how to write something that will stand out and hook you from the first moment.
The most surprising song on this EP was definitely 'On The Line', featuring Alex Gale. The only acoustic song, it surprised me how much such a different style still suited them. I'm a sucker for a song with a male and female vocal, so this was right up my alley, and with the beautiful guitars in the background reaching a crescendo towards the end of the song it's a really emotional song. It's perfect road trip music, and I can imagine people blasting this song with their car windows down and the wind in their hair; it's evocative of the end of summer.
The thing that makes Elasea stand out is their vocalist, Andy Bradford. His vocal tone is extremely unusual, but what I find the most impressive is how he chooses to phrase his lyrics. As someone who did performing arts for years I've studied lyric phrasing closely, but Andy makes decisions that are pulled from completely out of the box, and their songs really benefit from this. Instead of making predictable choices, by playing with the tempo of the lyrics throughout the songs it allows the vocal to shine, but also means that there's more focus thrown on the music - you just can't help but notice it, because making an usual vocal choice makes it all stand out. If you don't know what I'm going on about, I'd highly recommend you listen to 'Lost In The Dark' (linked above) because it's easy to recognise on the chorus there, but it's a trend that continues throughout their songs and it's something I adore.
I also really appreciate the musical side of this band as well. A lot of the time I find myself ignoring the music because I really appreciate the vocals, but Elasea are a perfect blend, and that's something I haven't heard in quite a while. By working with multiple genres, this EP is certainly eclectic, but I think it will widen their appeal and they are very brave to take risks and do what they want to do with their music - it's something I think fans will love.
Where I Belong
Lost In The Dark (ft. Simon Jackman)
Time Is Against Us
On The Line (ft. Alex Gale)
Once again, huge thanks to the band for sending their EP through to me, and I can't wait to see where these guys go next - it's so exciting!