Reflect EP

Written by: PP on 27/11/2009 22:52:49

I've seen the name Elder in passing a couple of times, usually in connection with critical acclaim, but I've never checked them out before their new EP "Reflect" landed in our mailbox a little while ago. Members of Balboa and Towers make up the trio, and although I've never heard of Balboa, Towers is another name that I recall connecting to high praise on several different websites. Based on "Reflect EP" alone, however, I'm beginning to understand just why a buzz is starting to build underneath these guys. Remember the spacious-yet-intense atmosphere omnipresent on the Thursday / Envy split? Elder take the gray feeling of despair from that record, throw in some melodic post-hardcore in the vein of Small Brown Bike, and finish things off with plenty of chaos-hardcore learned from masters Converge and, partly, United Nations. How's that for a name drop?

There are an infinite number of possibilities in which such a mix will go wrong, but Elder handle their influences masterfully by compressing their chaos into a single compact, intensified unit that, on at least "Niños", is also capable of extending into Envy-like colossal post-hardcore landscapes. The result is paradoxical, because on one hand the band goes through chaotic passages that wouldn't feel out of place on Converge's "No Heroes", but yet they're able to extract surprisingly calm and beautiful sections from the expression without the feeling of incoherency. This is highlighted especially at the end of "Remember These Days", but also on the brilliant "Friendly Fire" which works the quiet/loud dynamic to near-perfection. Now had all the songs contrasted the melodic guitars and the strained vocals in the same way, there's just no way I could avoid rating "Reflect EP" among the very best recordings produced this year. But while "Evasion" is a great track on its own as well, the reality of the situation is that "Friendly Fire" is such an amazing listen that it inevitably leaves others in its shadow.

The mood on the entire EP is that of despair and desperation, which is quite interesting considering Elder's own words that the record's lyrics reflect on the past life experiences of the band members. They must've lived through some rather turbulent times, but then again, some of the best albums throughout history have been written as a result of an intense conflict of emotion between the composer(s) and other individuals/the world. Think At The Drive-In's "Relationship Of Command" as one example. As such, we may only hope that the force which is tearing Elder's hearts apart and inspiring them to write such awesome, emotional music doesn't end in a tension that splits the band.

Download: Friendly Fire, Evasion
For the fans of: Envy, Small Brown Bike, Converge, United Nations, Thursday
Listen: Myspace

Release date 17.11.2009
Force Again Records

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