Transfixed isn’t the first rodeo for the Philly band eL Dwellers. The group is a three-piece set who have all been playing together since high school. The three figured out early that their taste in music was not one that was common for their peers and is there any glue that can hold people together like unique musical tastes? I would argue no sir there is not. They came together in 2010 and have been touring and making music ever since. One might assume that's it. It's a happily ever after sort of thing, but these three have been through the wringer. The group put everything on hold to deal with personal issues and that's a thick fiber that is woven into this latest album.
Their sound is a fresh take on rock that comes off very indie and alt and a whole lot of bluesy love. It's moody with devilish riffs and subdued vocals. It's got a grime to it that's honest and unforgiving. It's like shining a light in a dark alley at 3 am. However there is no shame, all of the lessons being mapped out in the lyrics are lessons already learned. This album has a lot of inner strength and confidence to it. When they wanna get funky, they get to it, no hesitation. It almost sounds like this was something that was very vindicating for the group as a whole.
From a composition standpoint, I really appreciate what these guys were able to achieve. The album sounds great and I feel that is largely in part due to the laser guided focus they had on their aesthetic. There is a lot of experimentation when it comes to genre. By the time I got around to the track "Next In Line" I could taste a little punk rock creeping onto the scene. Then there are lots of moments where their love of blues just takes over. However everything is sewn together with a thick fiber of seediness and desperation. The adherence to this narrative is what really helped sell this for me.
The production on this album is solid. The vocals were something that I was initially hesitant about. My concern was that the strained whisper performance style would easily get buried, but that didn't happen. The lyrics are very powerful here and I got to enjoy all of them without having to work for it. There were a few spots where I wish the guitar sounded a little more intimate and less out of the box.
This is a great album with an honest attitude and I think it is worth the time to listen to it in its entirety. I like that their obvious love for the classics is there, but at no point would I categorize these guys as derivative. They mapped out their own course and they have a way of sticking out by sticking to their guns.
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