Music Reviews


Radio One Sessions


People old enough to have witnessed the alterna-craze of the early 1990s will no doubt remember the wonderful and exuberant Elastica, especially their intoxicating single “Stutter.” While to the novice onlooker Elastica had only one fantastic and hugely successful album to their credit, they were actually much more than a one-album wonder. The incredible work on The Radio One Sessions is a testament to just how adept these ladies (and one gentleman) were at making gritty pop songs.

You will notice that I write of Elastica in the past tense. This is because Elastica is no longer a band. Thankfully, the folks at Strange Fruit have put together this fantastic collection of 21 tracks performed for U.K. radio. Strangely, though, “Stutter” is missing. I am guessing that “Stutter” was left off for the same reason that Nirvana did not like to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit” live: both bands wanted to be known for more than their one tremendously big hit. Nevertheless, this collection of tracks shows a much grittier, tougher and more rockin’ band than what is found on the Elastica album.

The guitars are scraping and scratchy, the bass is ringy and totally overdriven and the drums are big, with lots of kick drum; the overall sound is awesome! Gone is the slick record production that tamed Elastica on their official releases. Tracks like “Ba Ba Ba” showcase Elastica’s love for late 1970s post-punk heroes Wire and Gang of Four: the guitars emanate all sorts of nonsensical noises and play in altering syncopation, making for a very post-punk mood. “I Wanna Be a King of Orient Ahh” is another Gang of Four worship song, and makes for a head-bobbing listen. The majority of the tracks teeter on late 1970s math rock, but what makes them so fun and attractive is the lovely voice of Justine Frischmann, who sounds like Chrissie Hynde’s long lost daughter. She, and the other ladies providing back up vocals, take these gnarled rockers of songs and sprinkle them with angel dust and glitter, making this collection sparkle.

For the Elastica fan who has been waiting for years for the follow up to Elastica, this is all you’re going to get. I must say, however, that I enjoy this collection more than the Elastica album. These 21 songs are so ridiculously cool and timeless. I highly suggest you purchase this album. And when you do buy Radio One Sessions, skip to “I Want You,” a new unreleased track, and you’ll instantly be pleased that you bought this. I swear.

Koch Entertainment:

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