Planets Away by ElstowRelease date: December 1, 2017
When you’re a bit further away from what are considered epicentres of rock, like London or New York (or LA), for example, what do you do? Well, then, you form your own epicentre. That is exactly what the Australians (and New Zealanders, for that matter) did. So what do you get? You get a bit off-kilter sounds that only seem to come from the so-called key centres, but contain musical mixture(s) that you can connect to certain musical genres but essentially have a sound that is actually their own.
You can say that about almost all Australian bands connected in some way to psychedelia. With some recent examples, we can only mention Tame Impala and stop there. But then, lets not. The case in point is Elstow and their (his) debut album Planets Away. Elstow started out as a duo of Jared Shaw and Chel Browne sometime in 2012, by 2014 the band expanded to a five-piece, and by then basically turned into a Jared Shaw’s vehicle for his songs. It took almost three years for Show to write, record and come up with Planets Away. Obviously, he’s somebody who takes his time with making music. But, was the time well spent?
Actually, Planets Away works on two levels. The immediate one, where you can instantly get both the song structures and melodies Shaw is working with, and a more developing one, where through repeated listens you can get all the nuances he has incorporated in his mostly gentle rolling, space infused, psychedelia. If comparisons are to be made, think of Shaw’s music as the one bridging the gap between two distinct personalities of another Australian maverick – Luke Steele and his different projects that are The Sleepy Jackson and Empire of The Sun.
Not something that is easy to do, and Shaw manages to slip in the original Sixties sounds, but then also the Seventies, almost anything that spans the distance between George Harrison and Marvin Gaye. Add to that Shaw’s self-professed infatuation with the writings of John Wyndham and science-fiction and you get quite and an enchanting concoction that is quite listenable, bringing you a new musical nuance with every listen. While there’s absolutely no track you might wish to skip from the album, personal standouts are the opener ‘Night Day, ‘For So Long’ and particularly ‘Watching Us’.
Yet another interesting addition to the growing list of new Australian psychedelia. One for those very late nights / early mornings.