19 May 2022
UsernamePassword

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

Elmo Strauss - Album Review: Light and Dark

02 Mar 2021 // A review by Kev Rowland

Elmo Strauss began his musical career on Waiheke Island with the B Squared Blues Band which he formed with Louie Bo Charles IV. Eventually they morphed into Vessel, making the Battle of the Bands final in 2012. A few years later Elmo left NZ, heading first to Europe and then to America, forming different bands and recording along the way, but now he is back in Aotearoa with his debut solo album. Recorded at home, he provided all the vocals and instruments, apart from on Rehab and Cocaine  where he is joined by ex-Vessel drummer, Alfons Peeters.

Although he says he is influenced by multiple styles, he says that whenever he hits a musical roadblock he reverts to grunge, but while that is indeed a core part of his style, this is way more than “just” that. The album contains a large amount of alternative metal, as well as plenty of dirty, blues-based rock, and I found myself thinking this often felt more like early ZZ Top than Nirvana. There is a grittiness about it, a touch of reality and refusal to confirm to what is expected, which is refreshing.

It never sounds like a solo album, but much more one where a group of long-haired guys have just plugged in and started playing. The vocals are not quite perfect, but they would jar if they did, as that would be out of keeping in music which sounds as if it were recorded live in the studio. It has that lumberjack shirt and freewheeling attitude of Rory Gallagher and Taste, but without the flamboyance and more of the grunge down tuned element. Looking at the photos on the site I am not at all surprised to see he is using Marshall amplifiers, as they have that grunt and bite which one expects from that equipment. There is no room him for posing, this is honest to goodness rock which deserves to be played in sweaty clubs, and when he brings out the slide on GART all the listener can do is sit there with an almighty grin on their face. It does also seem mighty apt that the song I am currently listening keeps telling me I need to get used to Lockdown.

This does not sound like an album from New Zealand in 2021, but something which has far more in keeping with some of the grunge bands from the Nineties combined with Creedence, Fogerty, Taste and ZZ Top from the early Seventies. This is music which is designed to breathe in a live environment, not the studio, and one can only hope he puts together a band and hits the circuit soon. There are a few times when a song is a little too repetitive, and others when the bass is slightly too high in the mix, but overall, this is an incredibly solid album which all fans of classic rock should grab and play loud.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )
 

About Elmo Strauss

Elmo Strauss (Real name, Ben Martens) is a singer/songwriter from Auckland New Zealand. His previous bands include Vessel (NZ) and Props (Austin, TX).
Elmo recorded his debut album Light and Dark at his house during the Covid lockdown.

He is currently a member of Auckland band Billy and the Wolf.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Elmo Strauss

Releases

Light and Dark
Year: 2021
Type: Album

Other Reviews By Kev Rowland

Antebellum - Single Review: Resolve
16 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
There has never been any doubt in my mind that the most difficult musical format to get right is that of a trio, as while it is expected that the sound will be full and complete, there is also no room to hide. That is even more the case when that trio decide to be instrumental as there is no singer to take some of the load, and then what about when the musical grounding is in metal?
Read More...
Gig Review: French For Rabbits @ The Tuning Fork, Auckland - 13/05/2022
15 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
So it was back to The Tuning Fork for the first time in quite a while. I am struggling to remember the last time I was there, but possibly it was for Dragon, which was well over a year ago.
Read More...
Gig Review: In The Shallows @ Spirit Festival - 05/05/2022
08 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
I left work a little early on Thursday, and then fought my way from South Auckland, West to Kumeu Showgrounds, where Spirit Festival was taking place. In many ways this is a sister festival to Earthbeat which I attended last year in that it is very much for the alternative culture movement, with lots of stalls and a wonderful vibe.
Read More...
Gig Review: Imperial Slave @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 07/05/2022
07 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
And so, it came to pass I was back in Dead Witch for the second consecutive night, and my third gig in as many days, which really shows how the scene is ramping back up again under the orange settings. We have all been deprived of live music for so long, and bands are now dipping their toes back in the water while others are resetting dates which previously had been cancelled.
Read More...
Pull Down The Sun - Gig Review: Aotearoa Prog Alliance Tour @ Dead Witch, Auckland - 06/05/22
07 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
This was the first night of the Aotearoa Prog Alliance tour, which is a showcase of progressive rock/metal over 9 shows in May, featuring three of Aotearoa's leading progressive rock/metal bands - Pull Down the Sun (Whanganui), Elidi (Christchurch), Claemus (Wellington) plus a local support at each stop. First up was Claemus, or at least a close approximation, as due to the wonderful lurgy which is COVID, plus a family commitment, the band was down to a duo of Taylor and Dan.
Read More...
Bleeding Afterglow - Album Review: Find Your Taboo
05 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Back in 2004 guitarist Sharne Scarborough was looking for a new rhythm section for Just One Fix, and he asked Ant Ward and Gaylene ‘G-Force’ to join. Although the bassist and drummer had bumped into each other on the circuit they were not really friends, and G actually complained to Sharne at one point that she was not sure if she could handle Ant’s persistent innuendos.
Read More...
Big Scout - Single Review: Redwood St. Massive
05 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
It’s not often that a song can take me straight back more than 40 years on the first time of hearing, only to reinforce that with repeated plays, but that is exactly what happened with this angry trio from Blenheim. This is stripped back music which has a great deal in common with the post punk Oi!
Read More...
Saint Mercury - Single Review: Ominous Warning (Ft. Shooless)
05 May 2022 // by Kev Rowland
Saint Mercury is the artist name for electronic producer Mark Linton who doesn’t see himself being at home in any particular genre but is more of a shapeshifter and on hearing this track one can understand why. Ominous Warning is his debut single, and he has given himself enough room to move around as it is more than five minutes in length.
Read More...
View All Articles By Kev Rowland

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • FIRST CLASS
    Jack Harlow
  • AS IT WAS
    Harry Styles
  • ABOUT DAMN TIME
    Lizzo
  • GO (GODDARD. REMIX)
    Cat Burns
  • COLD HEART (PNAU REMIX)
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
  • HEAT WAVES
    Glass Animals
  • WAIT FOR U
    Future feat. Drake And Tems
  • STARLIGHT
    Dave
  • FRIDAY NIGHT
    King George
  • SHIVERS
    Ed Sheeran
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem