When Elastica emerged back in '93, they were all punk rock roots and little innovation. But in spite of all their shameless Wire rip-offs, I quite liked them, at least for their amount of energy. And now, seven years later, when they've found themselves a cocksure identity of their own, they're good for real.
On their new, second album "The Menace", Elastica have kept their love for spastic, revved-up punk rock. But with the addition of a fair amount of machines, they have injected their music with a healthy dose of electronics. Tracks like "Generator" and the single "Mad Dog" sees them moving in almost the same territory as Meg Lee Chin's fabulous "Piece and Love" album. Truly seminal are also the Fall paraphrase "How He Wrote Elastica Man" and "The Way I Like It", a semi-acoustic techno-bubbling hit right in the face.
It is the sentimental harmonies of "Nothing Stays the Same" that makes the biggest impression, however. Its two minutes of 60's girl groupy beauty are borne upon cheap synths, and are almost impossibly touching.
With "The Menace", Elastica haven't only made a great "come back" record. They also feel like an important force in a current British rock climate, where Melody Maker praise the dumb-ass nu-metal of Limp Bizkit, and the word "indie" has been perverted into meaning safe, middle-of-the-road rock like Travis, Oasis and Coldplay. Need I say more?
Together with a few labels and bands like Primal Scream and Clinic, Elastica feel like one huge middle finger to all this, and that is why I love them.