Friday, 12 August 2011

Lost bands of the Camden Scene - Elevate

Hiya, not forgotten ya, and sorry about the delay in posting new stuff. Just started a new job with rather unsocial hours and I'm not getting much webtime.

Anyhoo, dug these two crackin' albums out of the CD rack after not playing them for years and remembered how much I liked them back in the day.

Yet another bunch I first heard on the John Peel show in the early 90's and became slightly obsessed with for a short while. I never found out much about them, and info on the web is still a little sketchy, but their music could best be described as part Fall, part Slint, part Sonic Youth with a dash of Pavement, and a drop of Shellac. (All fine bands in their own right as well).

Here one of a number of clips from You Tube of the band Supporting Debut record 'Bronzee'.

Here's a brief overview of Elevate.

"Elevate were a short-lived but inventive guitar-based band, formed in London in 1993. They released two albums (Bronzee, 1994 and The Architect, 1996) and several singles on Robin Proper-Sheppard’s Flower Shop Records. Musically, they sit somewhere between The Fall and Slint, while always ploughing their own very particular, and very British, furrow. Elevate bring out the grimmer aspects of indie-noise in comparison to the likes of early Sonic Youth and Girls Against Boys. The band split up in 1997.

Members were Tim Ward (Lord Ward NYC), Graham Miles, Paul Collyer MBE (of Championship Manager fame) and James Elkington (now of The Zincs)"

 First album 'Bronzee' is best described by the review I filched from All Music Guide, have a nose at it.
 And you can listen to the album at the same time Here .

Elevate - Bronzee (1994)

"Willfully embracing a cryptic public image approach that reads like an even more combative version of early Fall sleeves -- band members are credited simply as drummer Flamingo, singer/guitarist Cuckoo, guitarist Crane and bassist Swallow, while hand-scrawled notes and cut-out photos are everywhere -- Elevate makes a fine splash with its debut album. The inspirations come through clearly enough -- besides the Fall, members had clearly been spinning the likes of Girls Against Boys and the Jesus Lizard on their systems. For all that the sonic connections can be traced, though, Elevate makes a righteous enough noise that their pleasures, while derivative, still sound great upon listening. Produced by Flower Shop label head Robin Proper-Sheppard -- no stranger to loud noise via his work in the God Machine -- Bronzee rocks hard without apology, but with plenty of off-kilter angularity. Rhythms stop-start on a dime, melodies per se are eschewed in favor of repetitive, trancy chords and riffs, and vocalist Cuckoo prefers to deliver his slightly whiny rasp against the grain and flow of the songs. "M'Statue," which would surface more than once later as a single and on American releases, deserves the higher profile it has. Cuckoo's wickedly funny and very Mark Smith-inspired drawl of "Splintered spi-ine..." over the charging crunch of the music makes for good listening, a slow burn, and explosion of feedback. The band knows the virtue of variety here and there -- "1/2 Painted Chair," for instance, has just slightly stinging acoustic guitar and Cuckoo's murky, boxy vocal making up the track, resulting in a fine tension waiting for an explosion that never comes. Then there's the sometimes loud sometimes not semi-trudge of "Priceless Water/Victim No. 12," ending on an ominously calm note of low, repetitive bass notes, or even the banjo on the concluding "The Train Journey."
 (Review Ned Raggett - AMG)

Elevate - The Architect (1997)

 The second album 'The Architect' is my favourite, rather than going for the jugular 'noise-wise' they add a little more space to the sound which for me adds a little extra depth lacking in the debut.

Have a listen Here .

Here's another review from All Music Guide.

"As the singer says with smart passion at one point, "I ridicule the mainstream!" -- always a worthy goal whenever the mainstream is particularly rotten, and 1996 was as bad a year as any. Having won a variety of comparisons -- and understandable ones at that -- to Girls Against Boys, Elevate neatly thumbed its nose at the critics by going right ahead and recording its second album with that group's key sound sculptor, Eli Janney, in Maryland. The band members chose even more cryptic monikers this time around -- Hair, Legs, Clothes, and Shoes, this time not even specifically identified with a particular instrumentalist. Obscure imagery aside, Elevate continued its just abrasive enough vision of rock tension, with a little more spite and fire this time -- not that Bronzee didn't have plenty of that, but lyrics referring to "testosterone eyes" and "two rivals need no abuse excuse" are again delivered with Fall-touched bile. The Architect differs from Bronzee in that, if anything, the off-kilter approach that both bands share is even more clearer here - Janney certainly wasn't out to persuade Elevate to try something different, if anything he helped it sound even better than ever. The same thick but tight playing approach remains for the quartet, but even at its most blasting there's a clear separation in instruments, combining impact with individual detail. "General Purpose," with a snarling initial bassline and almost metallic percussion clatters to recommend it, and the heavily distorted vocal roars halfway through the aggro strut of "Tuxedo Mouthpiece" show that Janney knew how to record the band for maximum impact. Quieter numbers conjure up images of moody film noir scenarios where threat and inviting shadow combine -- "The Resin World" almost glides with weirdly relaxed edginess, effortlessly swinging.
(Review Ned Raggett - AMG)

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