What do you get when you combine two drummers, two horn players, a mess of keyboards and an adventurous mix of vocals? You get the eccentric Nashville based 8-piece known simply as ELEL
. No, this is not an L.L. Cool J. tribute band, even though some of their sounds most certainly contain traces of hip-hop. But their music contains traces of many
genres, and the success with which they make it gel is what makes this group so special. Since the release of their debut song "40 Watt," they've experienced an electric rise to popularity, touring extensively and receiving tons of remixes for their songs. Their debut eponymous EP is out and, though only consisting of three tracks and a remix, it's a unique, enthusiastic foray into indie pop and the outskirts of the genre.
The EP opens with "Geode," a washy, dreamy escape into unique sonic territory complete with shimmering vibraphone, raw acoustic drums, jazzy trumpet riffing and subtle synth drone. The track's structure is loose and difficult to discern at times, but the challenge is refreshing and pleasant. After a brief instrumental intro, the listener is beckoned with "Jump cross the boarder," referring outwardly to New Mexico, but insinuating a request for a suspension of disbelief and willful abandon. Brass motif's pop up here and there, percussion accents pan playfully from right ear to left, and and a particularly flavorful horn riff teases sporadically. "Geode" is a nice opener; it firmly establishes the band's mission of eccentric indie pop.
"Cherokee" and "40 Watt" are more accessible, offering clearer structures and obvious sonic motif's for the listener to latch on to. The former sits comfortably on a steady, mellow drum beat, dragging the bright vocals forward alongside the sparse bass line and playful keyboard pattern. "We are Cherokee waking and greeting the sunrise," proclaims the lead vocal, solidifying the overwhelmingly positive tone of the track. At six minutes long and complete with a jammy instrumental bridge that would impress Led Zeppelin, it's a bold song that translates well. And we're left with the melody-driven "40 Watt," the song that got them noticed. Entertaining play between the female and male vocalists and an infectiously catchy melody combine nicely with the fat drums.
ELEL are a promising crew of talented musicians brave enough to push the boundaries of their genre. Their four song EP is a great taste of what we can look forward to from them in the future, and most definitely worth a listen.
Their self titled EP is out now on Mom + Pop Music. Pick it up here
, and check out the video "40-watt" live below.