Sweden! An incredibly cool place with incredibly diverse music. From those absolutely brutal metal bands like Amon Amarth to those fantastically catchy indie groups such as Peter Bjorn and John –Sweden really has it all. Hey Elbow is a rather unique band that adds to the mix; coming forward with atmospheric and artistically bold songs. Their new album, entitled Every Other, delivers a slew of haunting songs that will haunt you.
Hey Elbow’s Every Other is like being stuck in a dream. Things are a bit strange, there’s a step away from reality. The entire album carries a very curious feel to it –the band has crafted an interesting sound for themselves. For example, the song “Matilde” features a choir like vocal piece that pops out and creates a cheerful and relaxing atmosphere. The addition of horns and a well played drum part build the song into something familiar. The pairing of either set of voices makes it all very weird, very new, and very cool. Unfortunately, it just drags on which becomes a common curse in Every Other.
Without a doubt the album is a great listen, but Hey Elbow’s impressive performance isn’t enough. The songs seem to lack that special something. Maybe it’s all a matter of taste, but Every Other does nothing to really grab the listener. For example, one of the tracks with the most energy behind it, “Ruth,” feels empty. The drums strike with thunder, and that’s cool. The rest is missing something. The vocals just feel like they’re ‘there’ without having any real meaning. Any backing bass tone is just a distraction from what’s going on. Nothing adds up. The song still sounds cool, it’s still enjoyable in a way, but even at the most climatic moment it feels empty and leaves much to be desired. This is the sing-song of Every Other. The album is full of would-be masterpieces that refuse to move you.
Good, bad, or ugly; at the end of the day, Hey Elbow’s Every Other remains perfectly decent. If you have a genuine appreciation for interesting composition and artistic endeavors, you do not want to miss Every Other. The album will give you a variety of soundscapes played out with loose melodies and an array of instrumental voices.