For a band working without the backing of a label, Elevator Art has crafted a disc that has the sound of a group with a fountain of money at their disposal. Sure, money isn’t everything, but I can tell you from personal experience that it makes a huge difference when you are in a small band with nothing but sad, starving little moths in your pockets and a record that needs mastering, artwork, and printing.
Elevator Art obviously put a lot of work and a considerable amount of hard-earned bread into this recording—and every dollar and hour spent recording, mixing, and mastering has clearly been worth the effort. Really, if they are able to turn a profit, why even bother with label backing? They clearly have the artistic side of the industry figured out.
Elevator Art mixes and mashes various genres into a stew of epic proportions—a generous helping of ‘70s arena guitar-driven rock, a smattering of ‘60s anti-war psychedelia, a pinch of Mars Volta, and a dab of Weezer and the Beatles, and you essentially have their self-titled debut album. Heck, there is even a Jethro Tull-esque flute solo.
The album opens with an uptempo mixture of crunchy guitar rock and wacky lyrics (something about a pregnant baby, a dog on stilts, and a unicorn that died) and is propelled by Yes-inspired tracks like “Punch and Judy.” They also throw in some country influences on “Autumn Epitaph” and channel Pink Floyd on “How Does the Day Find You” which sounds like it could have been a track on Meddle.
I do have a small bone to pick with the drums and bass. There are moments that the drums sound like electric drums (most obviously in a section close to the end of “Matryoshka” and also on “Peter Rabbit”). I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I would have preferred a more natural sound throughout. Also, Mike Jonin is a great bass player, but I wish his sound was a bit fuller—his bass gets a bit lost with so much mid-range and so little bottom end.
These are really very small criticisms, as most of the sound on the album is superb. The guitar, in particular, is clear and precise on every track, reminding me a bit of the crispness of tracks like “Young Pilgrims” by The Shins. Overall, this is a worthy recording by a band that is clearly dedicated to their craft.