27th January | Thekla
Watching Elder Island is one of those totally and immediately immersive experiences. It feels like sitting through an epic sci-fi or fantasy film, where you are entirely captivated by the world that is portrayed. Stepping back into reality can seem a little staid and colourless afterwards. Their genre is a perpetual debate, but wherever they sit, there is an undeniable pop freshness to the music which is both infectious and buoyant. Somewhat paradoxically, it can be said that there is also a reverberating trip-hop moodiness, which sits as an underbelly. It’s ideal if you want to dance and feel philosophical at the same time.
With just three members in the band, they manage to cultivate quite the stampede of sound. Katy Sargent’s vocal delivery is one full of passion and depth. Her timbre has elements of soul, swing or even jazz to it, but it is characteristically understated and tends to build momentum as the songs march to their crescendos. The cello she plays also adds a beautiful and reflective tone to the music, giving it a seasoned and elegant feel. The wall of programmed beats, samples, bass and lead guitar simmering beneath the over-arching melodies is intricate and busy in equal measure. The guitar work and effects seem to draw on disco and possibly new romantic flavours. The guitar sound on numerous tracks is really reminiscent of Japan’s early music, with its palm mutes and gentle but insistent plucking.
After a summer stacked full of festivals and the release of Welcome State/Bonfires on 1st December last year, the band are spending January touring the country to promote their new record. Last week saw them in our new and shiny Rough Trade store with a performance followed by a signing. Seeing the band in a venue like Thekla will add to the already atmospheric and dynamic show they put on.