Friday, 5 May 2017

EP REVIEW: 'Lesson Learnt' by Elasea

It's been almost two years since I reviewed Elasea's first EP, 'Where I Belong', and I'm delighted to have been given the opportunity to review their second EP, which was released mid-March. As I mentioned when I last saw them live, they have been through a couple of line-up changes since the first EP hit the shelves.
But just how much of a difference have those changes made to their sound?
The answer: a heck of a lot.

Elasea are not a band who make the same song twice. When reviewing 'Where I Belong' I was struck by the fact that no two songs sounded the same - not something you often discover on a first release - and they're pushing the boundaries further than ever with this follow-up.

Title track 'Breathe // Lesson Learnt' is a marked departure from their earlier material. Bassist Liv Jones has embraced her role as co-vocalist, singing on most of the songs on this EP, and though Andy Bradford's voice still stands out above everything else, she's certainly giving him a run for his money. There aren't many bands with male/female split vocals around at the moment, and it's a gap in the market that needs filling.
Liv certainly shines on 'Time Stops'. It's the heaviest track on the EP, with an intricate guitar line opening the song over a crushing drum beat. Stripping it back when Andy starts singing gives it an intense atmosphere, and as it builds up to the chorus - in which Andy and Liv both have solo vocal sections - it holds your attention, hard to predict where it's going to go next.

It's impossible to choose a standout track between 'On My Own' and 'Walls'.
I adored 'On My Own' the first time I heard it and it was stuck in my head for weeks after the show, so I'm grateful that I can finally listen to it on repeat! It's Fort Hope-esque, Andy's vocal veering between singing and screaming, adding a tougher edge to the proceedings. Completely unrestrained towards the end of the song, he roars "When it rains it pours/I can't remember what I'm looking for" with such passion that it gives you shivers.
The two are separated by interlude 'These Secrets', the only song worth skipping. It's a surprise compared to the rest of the EP, and although it's reminiscent of Bring Me The Horizon at their softest moments it doesn't do anything for me. Featuring an interlude on an EP bragging only five tracks is a risky move, and sadly this one doesn't add anything. That being said, it's a beautifully chilled out piece when you consider it independently... It just doesn't sound like Elasea, and it doesn't fit with the rest of this collection.
However, it makes closing track 'Walls' even more effective. The band fully embrace their pop-punk side on the song, creating a frenetically catchy riff that just makes you want to dance. The split vocal between Andy and Liv is a particular highlight: their voices complement each other so beautifully, and I'm hoping that Liv continues lending her vocals to their songs in the future, because it gives them an edge. I wish they'd pushed this song further, because it still feels like it could go somewhere and then it finishes. It's not a disappointing closer - the guitar work is brilliant, and it will work perfectly as a set closer in their live shows - but it could have been even bigger.

Elasea are a band who refuse to be pigeonholed. If I had to choose one word to describe this EP, it would have to be varied: Elasea have control over a mixed array of genres, and they consistently try different things and do them successfully. It shouldn't be long until big things happen to this five-piece. They definitely deserve it: they don't rest on their laurels, consistently striving to do bigger and better things.
I can't wait to see what they do next.

Breathe // Lesson Learnt
Time Stops
On My Own
These Secrets (Interlude)

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