Elliot Minor

Solaris

Written by: TL on 12/12/2009 23:32:16

I'm a sucker for unconventional instruments used in rock music. There I said it, and with that in mind, I think it's easy to understand that I consider Elliot Minor a band that I really should like. After all, what should be more up my alley than a British five piece trained in classical composition, instrumentation and singing, bringing all of that into a pop-rock format? Not much I think, yet Elliot Minor's first album never caught me on, not outside of its stellar single "Parallel Worlds" anyway, but yet I found myself interested in their sophomore "Solaris" anyway, so why not pick it up and prepare a review for you guys?

So do I like the new record better than the last one then? Hmm, not really. Do I like it less? No, not really. It's about the same feeling of unresolved potential I get from it to be honest. Sonically, few things have changed, yet if Elliot Minor cautiously mixed rock and classical music on their last disc, they have gone for the full-on fusion this time around, as strings and pianos are as integral a part of the soundscape as drums and guitar. They do this well, especially so on second track "I Believe" I think, the dramatic, up-beat chorus of which, I feel could almost belong in a Bond-movie, which is of course awesome. Impressive are also "Carry On", which is.. errhh, carried by an intro EM better be thanking Imogen Heap for inspiration to, as well as a quite catchy chorus of course, as well as "Better Than The Courtroom" in which the strings really show what they're good for, in building a good crescendo underneath the chorus here.

The problem however, is first and foremost in the fact that none of even these highlights, are anywhere near the quality of "Parallel Worlds", rather they are content with contending with the secondary singles from the last album. This would be alright, if the overall material presented us with more depth and variety this time around, but that isn't really the case. Of course, you're pretty much forced to enjoy it, for all it's compositional beauty, because the band shows beyond a doubt that they know their craft, and they didn't skip their homework in those classical lessons. Unfortunately, the 'rock' part of their expression kind of plays itself out on the premises of the classical side, instead of providing contrast with the qualities that rock is good for, namely rawness, power and the will to colour outside of the lines, so to speak. It's kind of like having a Matt Bellamy, with all his skill and classical obsession, yet all he comes up with is material that could be written by Keane.

If you like Keane though, and there's no shame in that, they're not that bad, then that's fine, and you can like this just fine. Me however, I feel disappointed once more. Where's the rock in this guys? Where's the feeling of energy, of things breaking loose of the formula, of conflict? Why does it have to sound this neat? Look to "Parallel Worlds" maybe, because the hyper-theatrical pianos, and the weird video-game-ish harmonized main riff had some character the likes of which has not been seen in the songs since. Unless of course I have things backwards, and the point is to write classically influenced pop music, with rock instruments, rather than the other way around. If that's the case, then I apologize, but given that I don't think so, I don't think your success amounts to more than:

Download: I Believe, Carry On, Better Than The Courtroom, The Dancer
For The Fans Of: Muse, Keane
Listen: myspace.com/elliotminor

Release Date 19.10.2009
Repossession Records

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