Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
In this morning’s edition of the Independent Spotlight, we shine our gaze on Elmont, a four-piece alternative rock band I previously lauded in December for having one of the stronger debut singles in recent memory. That single, ‘Home,’ was an early insight into their six song self-titled EP, a record that’s now complete and has a release date set for September 2. Here on the Spotlight, we received early access to the EP. Is it worth marking your calendar for? Let’s find out.
With a strong early single like ‘Home,’ Elmont had a high bar set for themselves. Fortunately, it’s immediately clear on the EP that they’ve not only reached that bar, but exceeded it in several ways. The introductory track, ‘Waiting on a Phone Call,’ harnesses a perfect suaveness that ties together Elmont’s brand of alt rock. The slick production is, similar to ‘Home,’ incredibly strong, and the lead guitar musings have hints of Southern influence, drawing parallels to, perhaps, the Allman Brothers or the like.
The beauty of this EP, though, is that the sound evolves throughout. After ‘Waiting on a Phone Call,’ ‘Falling’ arrives, a song that seems to draw stronger lines of lineage toward Modest Mouse in its instrumental style than the Allman Brothers. The lead vocals are in fine form on ‘Falling,’ too, especially when the band seeps in as back-up. ‘Falling’ also boasts the album’s strongest solo - it’s the kind of guitar solo one can listen to all day long. It’s so intensely smooth.
As the album progresses, the musical prowess of Elmont progressively builds, perhaps most notably showcased in ‘Nothing in Particular,’ a song that’s built around a brilliantly original guitar hook. The percussion pieces on this album are fantastic, too. All of the cohesive instrumentation that builds the band’s sonic tapestry lends further weight to the notion that they’re a tier above most of their independent alternative rock counterparts.
The centerpiece and most vital element of this self-titled record, however, is ‘Apartment.’ This sparse track which only utilizes a softly performed electric guitar and sporadic acoustic piano is stunning. It’s beautiful; it’s mystifying; it’s Elmont’s early-in-career masterpiece. After listening to the song a dozen times over, I still find myself in awe of the gem. It’s a somber break-up song, one that isolates the songwriter in a heartrendingly relatable way. ‘Apartment’ houses breathtaking performances worth listening to on repeat all night long.
‘Drama Queen’ is immensely satisfying, even despite following the album’s best track. It continues a running theme on the album, a relationship that fell apart, but in the case of ‘Drama Queen,’ that relationship’s elements are dissected as the woman falls into a similar pattern with another man. Typically, albums that linger too long in the despair of a fallen relationship suffer from those meanderings, but tunes like ‘Apartment’ and ‘Drama Queen’ thrive on their relatability and human nature.
‘Home’ closes the album, as excellent as it was when I originally reviewed it eight months ago. Oddly enough, ‘Home’ originally gave the impression that Elmont would have a folksy focus in their sound. That isn’t the case, though, as the song ended up being their only track of that nature. It suits them to have the song as the finale, though, and I’d love to see Elmont explore more folk and acoustic stylings in the future. ‘Home’ and ‘Apartment’ are indicative of a band that’s even more diverse than a simple “alternative” band. Check out a detailed run-down of ‘Home’ here.
‘Elmont’ is the perfect EP for the band to deliver on the heels of ‘Home.’ It’s superbly produced, beautifully performed, and teeming with authenticity. My only recommendation for Elmont would be to continue innovating with their sound. Continuing experimentation and boundary-pushing is a must for a band like this to continue to excel at what they do. As long as Elmont continues to do so, they’ll be well worth keeping tabs on.
Mark your calendar for September 2; ‘Elmont’ is an EP worth downloading when it arrives. If you’re local to the Dallas area, head on over to Hank’s Bar in McKinney, Texas that night, too, for the release party and performance. Connect with the band below: