One of the advantages of reviewing a new artist is that there’s no information on them – nothing to prejudice you (for example, I’d always give Westlife a bad review, even if they came out with a modern day Pet Sounds, simply because they are Westlife). However (my rampant prejudice aside), it’s also a disadvantage – if there’s no information out there, then you’ll get as much information as you can from sources that they perhaps they don’t want you to. A glance at Elderbrook’s Twitter page reveals (amongst the pretty standard new-artist stuff like links) a joke so bad that it’s enough to knock stars off this review. He tells us that he has been stung by a wasp and tells us to ‘bee’ careful – a word to the wise, very few can get away with bad humour Elderbrook, it remains to be seen if you are one of them.
The EP itself is a solid (if unspectacular – but how many artists will start off with their magnum opus?) effort. 3 tracks and 10 minutes it doesn’t drag like some EPs do (although the Lorde-esque finger-clicking does begin to get on your nerves after a bit) – so far so good. The lyrics are good, if slightly unbrave, whilst they are far from the cut-and-paste love lyrics that characterises bands such as everything you hear in Ibiza (you can tell he’s sat down and actually thought about it), they aren’t the most awe-inspiring lyrics you’ll ever hear – but then, few artists ever litter their débuts with wordplay and lyricism to make Shakespeare weep. The music is by far the strongest point – sounding like a cross between Arthur Russell (high praise, believe me) and a mixing desk it comes across as good (not great), although if you eschewed the almost constant finger-clicking you’d have the beginnings of a very personal album.
The essential weakness of this EP is the same as it’s essential strength. It’s easily-diegestable, a strength in that it guarantees the listenability of said album, a weakness in that it sounds no different to every other album out there. Normally this wouldn’t be bothersome (at least not as much as it apparently bothers the kids of Marvin Gaye), but listening you get the feeling that Elderbrook is capable of much more and it irritates me that for whatever reason he isn’t showing us all that he can do. This EP lacks character, but that doesn’t mean that Elderbrook does, in fact I’d say that – ignoring everything else – that this EP shows great promise.
‘Be There Soon EP’ is out now on Black Butter Records