Elm ‘Concentrate’ – Review
There’s nothing quite like discovering a new band, being able to attend intimate live gigs and watch them grow and develop into their own personal style. This feeling is only enhanced further when they’re a home-grown musical talent like Elm. Hailing from the capital, this talented four piece, with a dark, earthy quality to their music, Elm are certainly ones to watch in the coming year. With their music composing of guitar, drums, cello & haunting vocals, they have an eerily captivating and rich sound. Now, when I say this group are new, I mean fresh of the press new, having only been together since September 2014. However, this newness to the music scene shouldn’t be underestimated, they’ve certainly been using their time wisely, focusing on building a strong reputation in the short amount of time they’ve been together. Having played Whelan’s Ones To Watch main stage, recorded their new EP with the amazing drummer from Snow Patrol Johnny Quinn (you read that right, SNOW PATROL) as a part of Guinness Amplify, and preparing for their Guinness Amplify showcase in the Roisin Dubh Galway, Elm seem to be eager to hone their musical talents. Working with some musical pros and performing in some of the most renowned musical venues in Ireland, it’s safe to say that this young foursome have done more in a few months than some bands do in years.
Sunday 1st of March sees the unveiling of their first music video for their track “Concentrate” and it cuts close to the bone to say the least. “Concentrate” is a dark and brooding song that exudes a sort of simmering, angst-filled quality to it. The band have clearly chosen this song to release an accompanying music video to as it is so effectively demonstrates their musical range and ability. This is a hauntingly sombre track, and it’s amazing to listen to something that carries such a deeply personal meaning for the band, particularly if one considers how new they are to the scene. In saying that, their freshness can only be considered a benefit, bringing something new to the music industry, with a sort of guttural quality to their vocals and a slow pace, this comes across as a deeply emotive, personal track, one that has been honed to perfection in order to cement the band’s emerging style. The steady progression builds into a sort of pulsating beat, one that resonates and makes it a track that you just want to listen again. They have the sort of well- paced music that has made Villagers a musical sensation. Now, to talk about Elm’s music video for “Concentrate”, impressively the band sought to present the struggling with coming to terms with one’s sexuality in Ireland. I found their music video to be the sort of eerie watch, one that sits with you long after you’ve finished watching. The claustrophobic quality to the video gives it a deeply harrowing and unsettling feeling to it and it really conveys the sort of every day struggle gay teenagers and young adults face in Ireland. Needless to say I found it impressive that such a young band took an extremely relevant topic and made those feeling of uncertainty and isolation so palpable. The band really outdone themselves by making their video about the widely debated topic as gay rights and the upcoming referendum.
Considering what they’ve done so far, in terms of music and performance, I’m hopeful that Elm will continue to grow and progress. Their first musical offering has been unique to say the least, here’s to many more successful releases in the future.
Review by Elaine McDonald