Last month, Elaine the Singer released a feral self-titled debut into the wild. Combining a no-wave styled stream of riffs with haunting aggression and borderline antagonistic melodic sense, it’s almost hard to believe that 2/3 of the members of this band are actually in Floral.
But right off the bat, “Malcom” takes the kitchen sink of convention, runs it up to the roof, and tosses it over the edge. You would think placing an audience at the center of this splattering cacophony would feel like a huge risk, yet somehow something quickly forms inside the chaos, and hot damn is it magnificent.
The hilariously named “National Anthem” will probably bring to mind lovable contemporary maniacs STBTTLCO but slightly older audiences might infer some djangly early 90’s proto-math noise like Scratch Acid or Teenage Jesus and the Jerks.
After a few minutes, you begin to adapt to the language of it, possibly even relate. By the time the quirky rhythm of “Patience’s Printer” rolls around, you’re down for whatever they think of next. Even if it means putting a literal chainsaw to your expectations.
“Ultimate,” allegedly Nate’s favorite song on the record, particularly smacks of the best of Gen X nastiness. It also serves as a good showcase of the myriad of heavy tones found across the record. Not content to play nice, the mix often blends the bite of acoustic guitars with the texture of dark distortion. Hats off to Sloth and Turtle‘s Linden Reed and Jaime Wosk for balancing this so effectively.
“Clever Hans Error,” at first, is a surprisingly melodic cut compared to the Jackson Pollock core surrounding it. Alternating between dramatically angular builds and a grimy but hopeful motif, it finds itself tastefully placed as a signpost regarding the rest of the album. Whereas the first half functions as a palette cleanser for the unhinged, the second half shows a great deal more restraint in it’s arrangement.
But let’s be frank, it still crunches harder than a bag of old salt and vinegar chips. With some added percussion and far more intricate one-stop action, maybe more than restraint, they just kicked it up a notch.
“On Wednesday” features a slightly more prog-ified approach, with longer phrases and a slippery repeating section at the end. It’s not so much that the first half of the record doesn’t have repetition in it’s own way, but it goes by so fast it’s almost point blank irony. “On Wendesday,” “Patience’s Printer,” and “The Niqab” all lean into a more methodical approach and it will be really sick to see all of these elements coalesce even further one day. It’s already a feat enough in our eyes that all this madness is as cohesive as it is unique, especially for a debut.
Just when you think “The South” might win it for the heaviest song on the album, “Privacy” comes along to close out the tab. When asked about his favorite song on the record, Ty declared “they all sort of sound the same, but the last song has a chainsaw, so I guess that one!”
Recently we got in touch with guitarist Ty Mayer and got to ask him what it was like to write for ETS as opposed to Floral, and if there were any particularly strong influences on the ETS.
“Town Portal, Touched By A Janitor, Evil Ex, in that order; in Elaine, I am big daddy, in Floral, Nate is big daddy. And I like being big daddy.”
Fascinating. We also got to ask him if he’d be releasing more music any time soon.
“I hope it’s one of the 200 solo projects that I’m 90% finished with, but it will probably be Floral, because Nate is more organized than me, more motivated than me, and knows how to use the internet.”
Elaine the Singer can be found on Bandcamp and are officially sponsored by Corporate Energy Drink. “Drink Faster More Now.”