(SXSW 2019 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #413: Elder Island

By on Tuesday, 12th February 2019 at 12:00 pm
 

When I first started blogging 10 years ago, bands with the word ‘bear’ in their name was a thing. Now it seems that the buzz word is ‘island’. (See my review last week of Low Island’s ‘In Person’.) The word ‘island’ conjures up individuality, but at the expense of isolation. Elder Island, named after a real place in Canada, are an electronic-driven trio who prove that isolation used as a means for indie bands to carefully create their art can be successful. The like-minded friends who were all studying art in Bristol have been steadily moving forward with their experimental music side gig over the last 6 years. 2019 is set to be Elder Island’s year, their time in the limelight, and congratulations are in order, and not just for their all-important shout to SXSW 2019. Last Friday, they self-released their debut album ‘The Omnitone Collection’.

They showed early promise on ‘Golden’, appearing on their 2016 ‘Seeds in Sand’ EP. You can understand the track’s origin, used as a transitional, loose point in our set where we could just let go a little”, as you get caught up in its beguiling vibrations. Katy Sargent’s vocals, stretched and echoey, act more like another electronic part layered on top of synthesisers. From the new LP, the first taster revealed to the wild was the rhythmically-mesmerising ‘Don’t Lose’. On it, their ability to pen a catchy tune is written all over it, and Sargent’s vocals have less effects put on it than on the EP, which make them more human. The accompanying promo video is a playful visual of how deft they are in transforming what could be techie electronic elements into parts totally accessible once incorporated into a pop song. Electronics aren’t just for nerds who that love them. These days, those who can use them in tandem with good songwriting are in good position indeed.

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[…] Following Balún, it was a quick mosey to the International Day stage where Elder Island were just setting up. The Bristolian trio are part of the proud current wave of emerging artists keen on pushing the envelope beyond the traditional genres of independent music. Their debut album, the self-released ‘The Omnitone Sound’, came out last month, a beguiling mix of Katy Sargent’s r&b-inflected lead vocals and cello, guitars, synths and beats probably best exemplified by the driving ‘You and I’. 2 PM might not be ideal for a show more appropriate for a dark club filled with bodies bumping, but Elder Island did a great job in bringing that feeling to the room, eliciting more than a few instances of chair-dancing. You can read my past Bands to Watch feature through this link. […]

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