Samstag, 5. März 2016

Album Review: Elm Treason - Acoustic Treason. A rousing retro rock treat brimful of melodic energy and exciting stylistic diversity

'If you feel the rhythm, if you move to the beat,
if you're humming along, if you're stomping your feet,
then there's a song - and your guess sure's not wrong -
coming to mind, with good reason
it's one by a band called ELM TREASON.'

Thrilling groove, pulsing energy, intense harmonies and a brooding, smoothly absorbing atmosphere - this and more applies to ELM TREASON's first compositional carving as a band, 'Days Of Reaction'. The duo's eclectic debut album breathes rampant rock'n'roll spirit and vintage zeitgeist in equal measure, varies in style so effortlessly confident that the listener can spot signs of dreamy poetry ('We Go On') one time, transforming into traits of modern funk ('Another Year Gone'), fuzzy psychedelia ('Used To Know') and grunge-esque swagger ('Living For Living (Scenes from the Playground)') within the range of 11 songs solely - all under the mighty patronage of electric guitars creating a gritty, groovy and gripping sound.

Covert art: Elm Treason - Days Of Reaction

And the two new yorkers' follow-up album makes no stop at broadening, breaking up and blending genre-borders either. On contrary, it re-defines the role of acoustic guitars in the field of rock'n'roll by letting them lead and roar, as Andrew Roman and Robert Steel state, moreover brings brisk blues, jazzy vibes and powerful rock rhythms into play. What initially started out as idea born out of necessity (the two-piece couldn't bring the instrumentally complex sound of their first record alive on stage all by themselves, but neither wanted to turn out any chance to perform, which is why they altered the arrangements of the songs featured on their album and converted them into acoustic versions), soon became an ambitious project to prove that rock'n'roll can be indeed both acoustic-guitar-driven and rousing at once; hence ELM TREASON's audience shouldn't take this 13-track opus for granted, but rather embrace and appreciate it for what it is: an all acoustic (minus bass and occasional lap steel) musical melting pot, rich in variety, vitality and vigor, deeply soaked in rock'n'roll ethos

Cover art: Elm Treason - Acoustic Treason

Including four songs taken from ELM TREASON's debut album (ardently rhythmic 'With You', blues-infused up-tempo-number 'Honey Feet', alluringly ambient 'Mood' and groove-laden title track 'Days Of Reaction' shine in a brand-new acoustic attire here), 'Acoustic Treason' introduces nine other songs additionally - and exposes what acoustic-focused rock'n'roll is made of (spoiler: a lot of instrumental energy and passion is involved, exciting rhythmic alterations and strong, characteristic vocals show themselves essentials). From the dimly dynamic and melodiously hard-hitting 'Home Alone Blues' to the delightfully halcyon and harmoniously hovering 'I Like It There', the band's second full-length record hits the mark musically on a high level; presenting firmly clangorous percussions and provocative lyrics with '(Spoon Them) Dollops', highlighting the colourful sound of 'Crayon' by blending impulsively intensifying tonal gravity with dazzling dynamics, while staging the piano-ruled 'Up To Me' in a hauntingly sinister fashion, the two multi-instrumentalists know exactly how to attract an audience. And those who are not won over by above mentioned acoustic-rock samples, can try find a favourite among following four gems: opener 'Just Like Rock and Roll' picks up on the album's mantra, i.e. it reflects on how to make (their) music rock'n'roll when it is acoustic guitar-centred, and does so in an energetically entertaining and edgy way; recorded live, 'Fort Misery' proves to be a vibrantly atmospheric and perky sing-along-stomper; blissful beaut 'Lilah' charms with soothingly shiny melodies and poetic narratives, whereas 'I Gotta Write This Down' needs no time to grow on the listener, as the very same will find quirky instrumental groove (mark the organ solo) and catchy hooks aplenty.

Honestly, given 'Acoustic Treason' offers such a wide range in genre and style, it's hard not to find at least one song on it to favour and cherish, and even if its only for the longplayer's creative, captivating and charismatic melodic realization; carpe carmina sure does already for being an enthusiast of all kind acoustic (preferably the soulful, authentic and melodiously vivifying type of acoustic) - and that makes this 13-track-compilation quite a musical gold mine.

Reach out & listen to ELM TREASON on ...

.. twitter ...
.. facebook ...
.. their official website ...
.. soundcloud ...
.. bandcamp ... 

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