Little Brother: Eli Cold Tales

review eli x1 cong

No-one likes a smart alec graduate turning up and telling them what to do at work, with all the experience a piece of paper brings, and no-one seems to like a slick rock band that turns up anthem-ready. Like learning on the job at work, we expect bands to play the toilet circuit and evolve if they want to impress.

Little Brother Eli play rock, soul and blues, and the Press release bandies about names such as Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones, whereas the reality is more like the last instant rock band we got to review and you never heard of, because they sold 26 copies of their album before going back home to mum. The Press release talks about eclectic mixes and unique sounds, when it fact it’s unoriginal and derivative.

On a superficial level this is not bad. They can all play really well, the singer’s got a good voice and it’s melodic. It’ll sound good on the radio, and indeed it sounded good on first play through.

The trouble is there’s no depth. Bands like Black Keys and Kings of Leon make early albums that are as rough as houses in places, quality for the Kings in particular being hit and miss. When they eventually get it right, they have their mistakes to draw on. It’s the old saying about doing a job well and the money follows: you get the impression LBE want to go straight to the money.

Someone compared them to Reef but it’s late Reef, the one that was forced to play pop rock and split up soon after, not the good Reef that modelled itself on early Free and played dirty blues. LBE aren’t even as good as the bad Reef.

We wouldn’t say to avoid this album: if you want easy to follow rock to play in the car, it might be just the ticket, and they’re talented players who know how to push all the right buttons. Try opener Oceans, but don’t be fooled by the Incubus impression; they don’t keep it up.

About jerobear

Weekly newspaper editor in Cheshire, England. I blog my editorials and the CDs I write about. I play drums, drink coffee, play music, meditate. I hate filling in forms.

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