Elastica - Elastica (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Elastica (1995)


On a purely intellectual level, I know I should probably hate Elastica. They stole riffs from Wire, and I love Wire, and therefore I should smite those who do Wire harm. But when I hear the reassembled parts that constitute tracks like “Line Up” and “Connection,” I get all the way excited to blast through Elastica’s self-titled debut record from 1995. I’m a sucker like that.

And here’s the thing: Even if Elastica knowingly co-opted those riffs (we’ll never know; they settled out of court both with Wire and the Stranglers, who cried foul over “Waking Up”), the record is still 16 gosh darn songs long. While it’s embarassing that three out of the record’s five singles were accused of plagiarism, Elastica is still overflowing with riches. Band leader Justine Frischmann strikes a fine balance between cool detachment and rock ‘n’ roll enthusiast.

Overall the record aims for cool post-punk atmosphere, so even tracks that don’t directly ape Wire, like “Hold Me Now,” still kind pay homage. But there are glimmers of power pop rock, like “Annie,” which kick the adrenalin up a notch or two. “S.O.F.T.” is a dissonant half time burner. Album ender “Vaseline” is a cheeky jingle about loosening up with lubricant. The whole collection is fun from start to finish, something Britpop wasn’t always capable of achieving in the heyday of the Oasis/Blue rivalry.

Unfortunately, those court battles and a rotating band line-up critically slowed Frischmann down. Elastica managed only one more record, 2000’s underrated The Menace, but their inability to recapture Elastica’s commercial success kind of lends creedance to that plagiariasm controversy. Still, it was fun for a while, wasn’t it?