There probably isn’t an active band around today that has had the kind of impact on indie rock that Elsewhere has. Since the release of the critically acclaimed album Outbound back in 1997, the Boston trio has built a name for themselves as one of the most organically diverse rock bands to skirt the mainstream, and their new EP Multi-Man continues their legacy of audiological innovation. Having already captured the hearts of the European market over a decade ago, Elsewhere has set their sights on finally achieving the domestic success that has evaded them since their formation, and not only does this extended play deliver the perfect set of songs to do just that, but it takes the band’s sound to an elevated plain of surrealism in stereo.
Any pair of worthwhile music critics could devote volumes to arguing the significance and influence of Elsewhere’s discography as a whole, but if there’s one thing that isn’t up for debate is this band’s artistic priorities. In the last twenty years combined, Elsewhere have released one inventive record after another, and while no two have sounded quite the same, they all share the same common liveliness that launched the band in their native New England scene so many years ago. Songs like “(We’ve Got A) Moment)” highlight a band that is self-aware, commanding over their sonic gravity and totally free of the inhibitions that keep raw talent in the garage and off the stage. Younger artists could actually stand to learn a lot from their consistency and professionalism.
It’s an unfortunate reality, but rock music hasn’t really had much of a champion in the wake of hip-hop and electronica’s explosive success post-2000. Sure, there have been bands that have kept the cranked volume and opulent distortion of classic rock visible in the pop music lexicon, but their moment in the spotlight has more often than not been fleeting and devoid of any long-term influence. Elsewhere might not be the newest name in the pool, but they’re being charged with picking up the reins and leading their scene into the future regardless. Some might chock up their rise in the indie hierarchy to a relative lack of contemporary competition, but I refuse to take any credit away from the labored stewardship this band has contributed to pop music since their start.
Multi-Man is unquestionably the hottest EP of the late summer and will likely make a strong case for best record of 2018, and it has absolutely zero to do with a commercially-influenced push from the American music establishment. In a time where fake news and industrially-generated popstars seem to overwhelm the front page and smother the sound of legitimate art, Elsewhere have persevered and found a means of getting their work to the people uncorrupted and uninfluenced by external forces. Even the most rigid of music fans can’t deny what this band has achieved both before and with Multi-Man, and I for one couldn’t be more excited to see what else Boston’s most underrated rock syndicate have got planned for fans next.