The four-piece band Elwood from New Zealand recently released a very impressive album entitled milestones. They play rock music that feels like it tips its hat to contemporary bands as well as acts that date as far back as the sixties. I hear hints of Mc5, The Stooges, The Sonics in addition to The Strokes.
The original intention of milestones was providing the band with material they could use to promote their live performances. They enlisted sound engineer Reece McGuiness and ended up cranking out the eight songs here in just two sessions. The band went at it live and I’m sure the band is happy with the results as they indeed sound live but also sound better than any demo I have heard in recent memory. That being said the band may want to get this recording professionally mastered because I did notice a difference in volume from song to song.
The band has some skill and the record is good overall but there are also some clear highlights on milestones. I felt the first half of the album was a bit tighter and contained more hooks than the second half. The first track that really made an impression was the punk/garage ‘70s hybrid “Takeaway.” It’s a simple song revolving around a couple of power chords but it’s all about the attitude and delivery.
It is immediate and contains the same rush of energy you felt when you listened to “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”The band follows up with “Big Song” in which Andy Marsh (guitar and vocals) delivers some of his best vocal melodies. His voice is almost fragile during the verse but sounds contained and confident during the chorus.
The next two tracks “Find A Way” and “Field of Dreams” are also well written tracks that play into the band's strengths. Unfortunately, I can’t say the same with the next two entitled “Waiting For Tomorrow” and “Don’t You Know.” “Waiting For Tomorrow” loses the distortion and sounds more like 1950’s pop. I don’t mind the style but it didn’t seem to fit the vocal style of the singer and felt weaker than the previous tracks. “Don’t You Know” gets the band a bit back on track but at times sounds like watered down ‘90s alternative rock.
Overall, there are a couple missteps on the second half of the album but the first half more than makes up for it. Hopefully, we will hear more from the band soon and their next release will build upon their strengths.
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