Being in a band isn’t as easy as it may seem. Musicians will often compare the band relationship to a marriage… personalities will often clash, disagreements will arise, and breaking up is sometimes the single most difficult thing to do because everyone wants to do what’s best for the group, and not for the individual. Joining a band is a huge commitment, not only to the other members, but to the music as well.
Atlanta’s Elevation is a great example of the heights a band can achieve by rebuilding until they get it right. Originally formed in 2002 by singer Nathan Smith, Elevation has taken a few years to put all the pieces together, but now that the members have been solidified, they’ve released an excellent new album called Strangelove. It’s loud, it’s big, it’s rockin’, it’s emotional, and it’s really, really, really catchy.
My first introduction to Elevation was their first single, “Razoreyes.” This song is a fine representation of their sound… it’s got a retro feel to it, but as a whole it’s as current as the daily news. The pseudo-disco beat immediately catches your attention, and once the chorus hits, you’re hooked. “Razoreyes” also showcases their excellent pop sensibility, as there are hooks pretty much everywhere in the song. It took me a good day and a half to get the chorus out of my head.
After digging on “Razoreyes” for a while, it was time to move on to the rest of the album. Strangelove is full of songs that I can hear on the radio right NOW. The production, musicianship, and song writing would all have absolutely no problems sliding into any rock radio program, but don’t let that statement fool you… although Elevation writes some excellent pop songs, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t more underneath the surface.
One of the many examples of this for me is the beautiful “Not Going to Beg.” This delicate piano driven piece brings Smith’s voice front and center, and I think this is his finest performance on the record. The song has a gorgeous melody, yes… but it’s how he handles the melody that pulled me in as a listener. He’s got a set of pipes, that’s for sure, but “Not Going to Beg” showed me that he’s able to be vulnerable without losing any of his strength.
I love how he sings the line, “And the way you looked at me just sank my heart.”
While looking through the Internet for more info on Elevation, I came across this studio video of “Not Going to Beg.” Take a few minutes and watch it… it’ll give you an idea of how the song came together.
I’ve posted this track in the Dig-it section below, along with the single, “Razoreyes.”
Another choice track is “Be Free.” This uplifting song begs to be performed live, and is, hands down, my favorite song off the album. The structural simplicity allows the rest of the band to take the time to work their dynamics, and they definitely work it to the limit. The coda is just as huge as you hoped it would end up being… I have a feeling that this is a show-stopper in their live performances.
“Be Free” is also one of the stronger lyrical moments for the band. I dig the message of the chorus:
So just let it be
Come on be free
It’s all right to believe in the things you can’t see
Come on be free
Some sound advice given there. It may not be a new message, but it’s one that I think a lot of us can relate to.
Strangelove carries a hefty fifteen tracks, so it might take a while to digest it. It’s a fun listen, though, and well worth the time spent. Good song writing is always the number one priority for any record, and Elevation has put together a quality collection here. Without the song, nothing else matters.
The album was released in August 2008, so the band is still out on the road in support of it. They’ll be in Athens, GA for a couple of shows starting tonight… if you’re in the area, go check them out. Judging by the energy they show on the record, I have no doubt that you’ll get your money’s worth.
Here are the details on those two Georgia shows:
Jan 26 2009 @ 9:00P - TASTY WORLD w/Lights Resolve in Athens, Georgia
Jan 27 2009 @ 9:00P - MASQUERADE w/Lights Resolve in Atlanta, Georgia
Visit the band on MySpace. You’ll find a few more songs to sample, and a short video documentary on the band.
Pick up the record, dig it, share it, see a show, grab some swag, spread the word…
*Link to the original article on thefrontloader.com