July 12, 2006

Elastica

Indie is a risky place for women to venture. You can wring your hands all you want about equality and shit like that, but women in guitar based music have a harder time than those in other genres. In R'n'B and pop they are practically the rulers, the dominant R'n'B stars are Beyonce and Rhianna, the big and best pop groups are Girls Aloud and Sugababes. But in guitar music land there's a residule boorishness which means some gigs can be spoiled by shouts of “Get yer tits out” directed at female band members. It's annoying and stupid. Rant over.

So when girls do go indie they seem to take one of two routes – they either get a little bit whispy, or they get attitude. The whispy types include groups like The Cocteau Twins or the Cranberries when they were really big. The attitude ones will either be really in your face, unafraid to use the word feminist like Courteny Love, or they are more personal, more assertive about what they are thinking about at that exact moment. Less of the sweeping statements, more of the “I want to do this and I am damn well going to do this”. The masters of this latter art were the great lost Britpop band Elastica.

Elastica were beyond cool. By failing to care and be musical nerds they managed to turn their don't–give–a–stuff attitude into some magnificent music. Nothing fancy was required, so nothing fancy was attempted. Chords were simple for a reason, it meant songs could be played quicker so the next one could begin. 'Annie' is less than 75 seconds long and still manages to piss all over 95% of all Britpop. And in singer Justine Frischman they had a frontwoman who wasn't singing to indoctrinate the world, she was singing because she damn well wanted to.

Elastica – 'Annie' MP3 Expired
[Buy Elastica from Amazon]

Their 15 track debut album was a rush of giddy fast punk, interspersed with some more thoughtful reflective stuff which added depth to what they had to say. In 'Waking Up', which was released as a single, Justine managed to perfectly sum up so much of life with the line “I work very hard/But I'm lazy/I can't take the pressure and it's starting to show”. Also impressive is the album's sole track over four minutes, the wonderful 'Never Here' which builds on (of all things) a guitar riff, rather than some ultra fast chords.

Elastica – 'Never Here' MP3 Expired

[Buy Elastica from Amazon]

Unfortunately as a band Elastica were too perfect. They developed perfect rockstar drug problems (guitarist Donna was so badly addicted to heroin that she tore out her anti–heroin stomach implant) which lead to rockstar lethargy. Turns out they were lazy but not working very hard. Somewhere along the line it took them over five years to write their second album which, frankly, sounds like it took five minutes to write, and is one of the most disappointing albums of all time. The Menace is not recommended, though their debut, Elastica, most definitely is, as is their really rather good BBC Sessions compilation which contains some of the best Christmas songs ever, including 'All For Gloria' which is the best version of 'Ding Song Merrily On Hi' to be about a somewhat ditzy glam girl called Gloria. Be unfestive and take a listen.

Elastica – 'All For Gloria' MP3 Expired

[Buy _The Radio 1 Sessions_from Amazon]

The most remarkable thing about Elastica is that you will have heard their most famous song, 'Connection' which was also used as the theme tune to Trigger Happy TV, and may very well remember 'Waking Up' as well. Their fall from the forefront of Britpop was too spectacular for words. What makes it doubly sad is that these days Justine Frischman is most remembered for having dated both Brett from Suede and Damon from Blur. It seems the girl with the guitar can't be an icon in her own right, she has to be the bird of some blokes who sang some songs which weren't as good as her best.

It's not radical feminism to point out that that's a little unfair. So you could either fight the gender oppression (or whatever the radical feminists call it) by listening to Elastica again… or you can listen to them again, loud, and drown out those annoying rows about gender. Or you could not listen and deprive your ears.

The choice is yours, of course.

Tracks are for sampling purposes only and will be deleted two weeks after this entry.

You are not this cool.


- 7 comments by 3 or more people Not publicly viewable

[Skip to the latest comment]
  1. John Dale

    None of your MP3 links work; they all say "The server reset the connection while the page was loading". Just thought you'd like to know.

    13 Jul 2006, 09:30

  2. Mathew Mannion

    I will work to fix the MP3 links as soon as EzArchive come back up, sorry about that :) Check back later!

    13 Jul 2006, 09:53

  3. Since you've mentioned "Connection", it's probably worth mentioning that it's famous for another reason too: The intro of "Connection" is nearly identical to Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba". In 1995 there was a lawsuit from Wire claiming that many of Elastica's melodies were taken from Wire compositions. Besides "Connection"/"Three Girl Rhumba", Wire's "I Am the Fly" has a chorus similar to Elastica's "Line Up".

    Incidentally, if you're going to do classic albums, please do Wire's "Pink Flag." It's s fantastic record by a fantastic band (imho)!

    13 Jul 2006, 11:30

  4. They also nicked the melodies from The Stranglers 'No More Heroes' for 'Waking Up' but I'd be the first to say that I rate 'Waking Up' as a better song, hehehe.

    Wire are/were ace though and I was wondering whether to do something here on them. I have played 'Outdoor Miner' to a number of people who were shocked it's 25 years old. Hurrah for new wave bands and the new new new wave who sound just like them!

    13 Jul 2006, 12:10

  5. You should certainly do something on Wire – if you don't want to I'll volunteer my services! :)

    13 Jul 2006, 13:15

  6. …one person wire fanclub

    13 Jul 2006, 18:26

  7. Dave tCB

    Elastica are an excellent band no doubt.

    I read this article recently link

    Seems Justine is unlikely to reprise her career in the near future!

    17 Jul 2006, 11:29


Add a comment

You are not allowed to comment on this entry as it has restricted commenting permissions.

July 2006

Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
Jun |  Today  | Aug
               1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31                  

Search

Disclaimer

MP3s are available for a limited time and are for sampling purposes only. If you like a band or a song, please buy it at Amazon or elsewhere. Please.

If you’d like your music removed, please email us and we will happily oblige.

Most recent comments

  • Yeah, there's a really nice eclectic mix of styles going on here. Suprised to find out that song was… by on this entry
  • I was watching "So You Think You Can Dance" with my wife and we caught a cool song called "Ramalama … by souris on this entry
  • Hopefully I may see Krug and co as they are playing Glasgow while I'm still there… Already a big f… by on this entry
  • Pleasantly surprised that this came to fruition – lovely formatting too, and the 'start here' idea w… by jack adams on this entry
  • Nice summary – Dragonslayer is indeed immense, I'll be seeing Krug & Co in Sept! May I recommend, if… by holy roar on this entry
Not signed in
Sign in

Powered by BlogBuilder
© MMXIX