19 Sep 2020
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Devils Elbow - EP Review: ID

16 Dec 2019 // A review by Mike Alexander
Hawke’s Bay alternative rock band Devils Elbow have been turning heads since their debut single KO in 2010.


There’s been a few line-up changes since then and it’s been a five-year wait since their last EP, Golden Flame, but vocalist and guitarist Alec Withers has always had the kind of charisma and stage presence that was never going to remain a state secret for long.

Now with a line-up that features Withers, acoustic guitarist and vocalist Andrew Pearce, drummer Cole Tilbury and Ben Persen on bass, ID is a great calling card and re-introduction to where they are now in their musical road trip. It’s muscular, ballsy. tuneful and, frankly, some of the best “rock” that’s come out this land of the long white cloud in 2019.

A majestic guitar line that eventually shreds over a rumbling bass line and rock-steady rhythm introduce Names, a song that appears to be about addictions. It has an initial lyric line that reminds you of the title of Led Zeppelin’s The Song Remains The Same, “part of the story still remains … but the names have all been changed”. As vocalist Alec Withers cries out “what’s your name” the song roars into intensity with some stunning guitar work.

Heaven Or Bust has a Poguish-feel to it with Pearce adding accordion and Withers on mandolin, and it blossoms into an epic hum-along song, the kind you would play with the windows down as you cruise along the state highway on a sunny afternoon. Again, there’s some superb guitar work.

Elastic Plane is the real stunner. It rings out on a gorgeous guitar melody and a sparkling, memories-are-made-of-this vocal. As the song goes through chorus and melody, there’s a lull in its finale where the mood deepens and becomes quite spacious – a pause for reflection, perhaps, with some lovely keyboard touches from Floyd Pepper. He also features on the final track Kingsley Flats, an instrumental that's beautifully structured and melodic and a fitting reminder of how far Devils Elbow have come and matured musically.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )
 

About Devils Elbow

Devils Elbow hail from the sunny Hawkes Bay, New Zealand - 'land of the long white cloud'. Formed in 2007 the bands sound has been described as punk-influenced, alt. country-flavoured, electric-folk, garage rock 'n roll. Dig.

"A new and smokin' hot take on country" – Scott Kara, NZ Herald

"Hook-filled alt. country rock which owes a nod to Joe Strummer as much as Steve Earle" - Graham Reid, Elsewhere.co.nz

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Devils Elbow

Releases

ID
Year: 2019
Type: EP
Golden Flame
Year: 2014
Type: EP
Absolute Domain
Year: 2013
Type: Album
Broken Record Syndrome
Year: 2012
Type: EP
These Days
Year: 2011
Type: EP
KO
Year: 2010
Type: EP
Sand On Chrome
Year: 2010
Type: Album

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