Elastica’s Eponymous Debut Album Reappraised

By chance Joe Whyte ended up on a car journey with only an album he hadn’t heard for an awful long time to listen to – Elastica by Elastica. Here he reassesses the album 18 years after it was first released. If you’d like to stream the album via Spotify as you read click here.

Recently, whilst doing my usual hunting through the shelves for a CD to play in the car that day, I happened upon the eponymous debut album by Elastica. I hadn’t listened to it in years, probably due to it’s Britpop connotations.

Being in a rush, and slightly curious, I grabbed it and stuck it in the player.

My memories of Elastica, I have to admit, are of relationships with Damon Albarn, court cases for plaigarising Wire and The Stranglers, and a slavering press which dropped them like the proverbial hot tattie.

The bands end was hastened by Donna Matthews heroic drug intake, although Justine Frischmann was apparently no shrinking violet when it came to the brown, either.

First song in, and I’m hooked. I’d forgotten about the sheer energy and genuine bounce of ”˜Elastica’.

This was an album filled with great ideas (albeit some of them nicked from Messrs Burnel and Cornwell) and instant pop hooks. ”˜Line-Up’ ”˜Annie’, ”˜Connection’. Three vibrant, insistant, opening songs, filled with the kind of new wave attack last heard in the heady days of 77-78.

We called it powerpop back then, young people.

This is light years away from the ”˜Cockney / Mockney-knees-up-me-old-geezer’ tosh of most of the Britpop also-rans.

The lyrical power of ”˜Never Here’ and ”˜2-1′ (both apparently about Albarn’s controlling personality) is remarkable for a band on their debut album, and without doubt amongst the strongest songs on the album.

Frischmann had that whole posh-girl-goes-bad vibe going on, never better illustrated than in ”˜Car Song’ with it’s slightly naughty lyrics about getting jiggy on the bonnet of a second-hand car.

I never saw Elastica live, but if they went down the reformation route, I’d personally be buying a ticket sharpish.

On researching this album, it amazed me that it’s nearly 18 years old. It sounds as fresh as the day it was written. And you can’t say that about many albums from 1995. Strangely, it now looks like a template for Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, and about a million other bands who acted like Josef K had never happened.

Go listen.

Oh, and weirdly, it got to No.1 in the album charts back then. Maybe the 90s weren’t so bad?

All words Joe Whyte. More articles by Joe can be found here.

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4 comments on “Elastica’s Eponymous Debut Album Reappraised”

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  1. The Elastic debut was a very fine album. Unlike so much of that era it still sounds up to repeated listening. They were TERRIFIC live too!

  2. Always loved this record although at the time I though it a little bit over-produced and lacked the rawness of the Stutter single. Their follow-up was an absolute dog’s dinner though.

  3. Never here is about Bret Anderson.

  4. I agree – perhaps not the most original record ever but a solid and very listenable one.

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