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Album Review – Mod Cons (Fidel A Go Go)

Mod Cons, Fidel A Go Go

Mod Cons is the debut album from Brisbane newcomers trio Fidel A Go Go. It’s a seven-track tour de force – equal parts hard rock and math-prog, down-tuned to a menacing roar. Three djentalmen giving it their all!

** edit – since writing the below, I have realised that the track order on Bandcamp is different to Spotify, which means references to track position (e.g. “opener Turbostein…”) may be incorrect **

Opener Turbostein is a counting exercise for masochists, should you be foolish enough try to decode it, or otherwise a fun experience in wrong-footed head-banging! Triplets over straight fours, short bars, shorter bars, heavy accents drop like bombs! The rhythmic intensity builds over a steady tempo and it’s done.  Super solid introduction to the band and a showpiece for drummer Toby Aitken.

Turbostein is one of two instrumental tracks, along with Track 5 (Speechless – geddit?!) and these two are definite standouts for us. The complex interplay of guitars, drums and bass is more than enough substance for each song, and the presence of a vocal in either would undoubtedly shift the focus away from these elements, which would be a shame.

When the vocals do turn up (Track 2 – Holiday Special), they take the spotlight. Duncan Beale wields a light, agile tenor over a bluesy guitar/bass groove in the verses, switching effortlessly to a harsher, more aggressive tone for the chorus. His voice breaks up with ease, introducing a rough edge, bringing a classic 90s tone to mind (Alice in Chains!). This is a definite favourite, swinging from light to heavy between verse and chorus, and wedging a killer guitar solo into the end of the middle section. It’s first rate – eminently shareable and will undoubtedly attract attention on radio, playlists and podcasts.

Final track Fadings again sets up a relentless dark groove, combining insistent guitar lines with a drawn-out, reverb-soaked vocal. The middle section is a perfectly-timed shelter from the storm – the arrangement is stripped back to a filtered guitar paired with a sustained lead line and layered vocal harmonies, finally giving way to Knights of Cydonia-style guitar arpeggios (or is it JS Bach?!). I’m not sure who is playing what here (Beale or fellow guitarist Nigel Bishop), but both parts are accomplished and expressive, and the combined result is mesmerising.  This is a great section, showing the range that the band can access, balancing out the brashness in tracks at the harder end of the spectrum (Bottle Rocket, White Water).

All in all, a remarkable debut but the depth of experience in this band is far beyond “first album” stage. The group take diverse influences and combine them into a unique sound, with the songwriting and performance skills to hold it all together. Stream it in all the usual places or, better yet, buy a copy on Bandcamp and provide the band with a year’s worth of streaming revenue in one go (and nothing for Applefy!). Catch them at Banshee’s (Ipswich) next Saturday 18 June.

A Life in Stages

Elbury – A Life in Stages (2021, LP)

Presenting our new album! This latest work, a follow-up to 2017’s Haunting Ground, originally carried the working title “the 2019 LP”, which was later replaced by the “the 2020 LP” and, eventually, “the 2021 LP”. Finally, with two months left in 2021, we agreed on a title for this super-extended, pandemic-disrupted, always-second-guessing, second album project – “A Life in Stages”.

Have a listen now on Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp and most major platforms.

Elbury is a different band to the group that produced Haunting Ground, both in membership (Brooke joined on keys and transformed the band just in time for the 2017 album launch) and in creative process. Involvement in a songwriting club (at least for Edward’s output) meant that there were many more songs (or fragments) to choose from, when putting the track list together, and a more rapid approach to song writing has resulted in lyrical content that is more ambiguous, more economical and more open to interpretation. Add to this strong contributions from Michael (Popular Hero), Brooke (Rose and Red Arrow) and Luke (Violet Town), and the result is a more diverse album than our previous release. The fifth voice – Tam’s light and pure harmony – is woven into most tracks on the album, and provides long-time listeners with a link back to some of Haunting Ground’s finest moments.

A theme to unite the work of multiple songwriters can be elusive but, ultimately, the idea of passing years, and recalling specific times in our lives, emerged as a common thread and was captured succinctly in a line from Passport – “a life in stages”. Whether it’s reflecting on a past love (Rose, Violet Town), yearning for a more innocent time (Popular Hero, Hollow, Sugar) or dreaming of eternal youth (Pickle),
the songs capture the joy, grief and loss we can feel so strongly for times gone by, and for our former selves.

Lead single – Whispers – was completed early in the project and launched in December 2019. It went on to claim a surprise bronze medal placing in the 4ZZZ Hot 100 for 2020. The pre-COVID Whispers launch show at the Paddo Substation feels like another lifetime… or maybe just a different stage.

So, we present our latest work, but these are not new songs for us anymore, and the desire to get on with the next evolution, and get started on new recordings, is a strong pull. Talk again soon.

Tour!!

Squeezing six people into an uncomfortably medium-sized van, we hit the road for six whirlwind shows over 7 days in August 2017! From the Uni of Newcastle lunchtime BBQ to Canberra institution, Smith’s Alternative, we were blessed with fantastic support acts, attentive audiences, professional sound dudes and good weather! All over far too quickly – bring on the next tour! Shout-out to the University of Wollongong Student Music Society for putting on a show for us at the last minute – definitely a highlight!

It’s launched!!

And so… it is launched!  Our baby, our pride and joy, it’s out there in the world and has been sent off in style!

Huge thanks to everyone who came along on Saturday night and helped us celebrate the occasion!  We were blown away by the numbers and the good vibes and the well-wishers and everything!  Amazing support acts – check out Boatkeeper and Matt Hsu if you loved them as much as we did!

We’re heading into tour planning mode now – time to take this thing on the road!  Watch out for an August show in Brisbane and, if you’ve picked up a copy of Haunting Ground, be sure to let us know what you think!

If you missed out on a copy on Saturday night, head over to elbury.bandcamp.com for a listen or a copy!

Like sirens at night…

Friday night, with the help of Music is My Muse (Brisbane), we released our second video from the new album – the pastoral-gothic, prog-folk slow burn, Like Sirens.

Patrick Delaney, who we last worked with on the video for 2014’s Caught Out Alone, took it up a notch this time around, with a multi-day, multi-location shoot, a massive bonfire and thousands of shots, intricately woven together.  The result, in the words of MIMM, are “mesmerising” and we hope you will enjoy it too!

Special thanks to the Velvet Kittens (VSassy, Raven Cherry, Indie Berlin and Miss Bunny Penny) and to Patrick Mulhare for the use of his land and the spectacular bonfire!  Also endless gratitude to Patrick Delaney for working with us on our most ambitious video project to date!

Second album track!

With the arrival of the CDs in the post yesterday, we decided it was time to share another track from the album! Introducing High Tide – current title-holder for being both the shortest and jauntiest track currently in the Elbury catalogue.

No video for this one, so we decided to pin our hopes on the JJJ Unearthed site and maybe drum up some extra listens from the crowd over there. You know how it goes – get the Kingsmill seal of approval, high rotation on drive time, join the Splendour bill, get fat stacks… I don’t know why we didn’t do this sooner!

Of course, none of these things will come to pass without listens, downloads and good reviews, so please head over to https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/elbury and check it out!

Big thanks…

And it’s live!!  Elbury’s first new tune in two years has arrived with great fanfare!  Big thanks to the alt-folk-lovin’ legends at Timber and Steel for premiering the video for us.  Check out the snippet here if you missed it last week, and head over to Timber and Steel on Facebook to give ’em a like.

Big thanks also to the ladies and gents working the airwaves on the community radio dial.  We started the ball rolling with an interview on 4ZZZ’s Goldilocks Folk, including a live in-studio performance of a brand new track.  Check out the podcast here, if you missed it (we’re on about the 90-minute mark).  Pic above is us bathing in the glory of a successful on-air performance and also the first group shot including Brooke, who has come on board to play some keys!

The boys at Emerge (Phoenix Radio) also picked up the single and gave it a spin for a couple of weeks.  Great one-hour new music show – check it out Monday 7pm – 8pm here.  The single is flying around the country on the AirIT distribution service, so give your local community station and ring and request some Elbury!

Finally, thanks to everyone who viewed, liked and shared the clip.  We have much more in store this year (e.g. second video and the full album arriving 1 May!) so stay tuned!

 

New Music coming soon!

It’s been too long between songs but, after delays and discussions and eternal small hold-ups, new tunes from Elbury are in-bound!

9am Monday 20 March 2017 we’ll be releasing the first single from our forthcoming long-player, Haunting Ground.  Keep your eyes on the socials – we’ve got a video to accompany the release and we’ll be having a chat with Tina (4ZZZ Goldilocks Folk) on Saturday 18 March to generally g-up the whole thing and get some anticipation happening!

The album itself (and another sweet, cinematic, video by friend and collab Patrick Delaney) will be going public 1 May 2017 and our launch show is happening Saturday 20 May upstairs at the Caxton Hotel.

It’s going to be a good year!

Selected Press…

Selected press quotes about Elbury…

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