Thursday, August 01, 2013

Rockers from half a world away deliver a vintage Motor City sound

They may call Warsaw, Poland, home, but Elvis Deluxe sounds like they've come right out of late 1960s or early 1970s Detroit. They began their musical journey a decade ago as hardcore and punk fans who formed a band to explore the genres' garage rock roots. Elvis Deluxe has now released its third full-length studio album, The Story So Far. The Story So Far features several brand new tracks and re-tooled versions of songs from their previous albums Lazy (2007) and Favourite State of Mind (2011).

The Story So Far opens with "Yourgodfreed". Its two-minute intro is ethereal and space age-y, sounding like someone is screwing around with knobs and buttons on the U.S.S. Enterprise over the music. The bass line and drums are laid back, and the guitar riffs take on a more bluesy sound as the song progresses. When the vocals first hit, they start out as haunting and deep--reminiscent of Lou Reed--especially during the opening line, "You pray to Mother Mary / You pray to Jesus Christ". Singer Ziemba then goes into his slightly higher range, where he stays for the rest of the song and most of the album. "Yourgodfreed", which tells of religious hypocrisy, really has a '60s rock meets '90s alternative feel. It's a very good, song but it does clock at almost eight minutes. I would have probably chosen a less dragging, more energetic song to give the album's first impression.

"No Reason", The Story So Far's single, follows. The intro is heavy on the drumming, thanks to Miko. "No Reason" is a lively, hard-hitting rock song--much more so than "Yourgodfreed". The vocals are cool, sexy, and smoky. (Note to self:  Polish accents can be HOT in rock songs!) I was really drawn to "No Reason," because it really reminds me of one of my favourite bands, The Lovehammers, and their lead singer Marty Casey. "No Reason" has such a catchy hook, and the repetition in the chorus makes it so memorable.

"Out of Life" is the heaviest song from The Story So Far, bordering on metal. The intro riffs feel like they are just absolutely barreling down on you! The guitars still have that "fuzzy" garage rock sound like most of the other songs on the album, but the rapid rhythm is so metal. The vocals are even grittier on this one, and Ziemba really sings with soulful conviction here. The song slows its pace at bridge, giving it an almost grunge feel. "Out of Life" has many diverse components, just as the songs on The Story So Far are diverse. Many are short, sweet, and punkish, while others are much longer--like something from a stoner metal jam band.

While my favourite original song from Elvis Deluxe's The Story So Far is "No Reason", I just can't get enough of their cover of Iggy & The Stooges' "Search and Destroy", which is the final track on the album. I've always been a huge fan of this song, and The Stooges are one of my favourite bands. When I first saw the song title, I thought to myself, "Could it be?" Oh, and it was! Elvis Deluxe accurately captured the spirit and energy of the original. It's a bit more polished, but the guitar work of Bert Trust and Bolek really shines through here. 'Search and Destroy" shows Elvis Deluxe's garage rock roots and proto-punk influences, and it also shows exactly what they are capable of.

As a band, Elvis Deluxe has a lot of energy, they are super talented, and they're absolutely one I'd like to see live. Overall, the songs from The Story So Far are good, but I wish more of them stuck out like the obviously radio-ready single "No Reason" or their "Search and Destroy" cover. It took me a few more listens to really get into any of the other songs. I instantly took to their raw vintage sound, so that definitely made up for it. I would highly suggest Elvis Deluxe's The Story So Far to any metal fans who are looking for something kind of different, but still wanting that heavy, gritty rock with loads of attitude.

6 1/2 out of 10 stars

Metal Mind Productions
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