As a nerd for the written word, I’ll admit that what drew me to Elements of Style was their namesake: this happened to be the title of the go-to book for writers by William Strunk Jr. After I had given them due credit for an eye-catching name, I dug into their playlist. Do you think that if Sublime, Ben Folds Five (and some alien band hailing from Kepler 186F) had a love-child, that it would be pretty? Well, whatever it looks like, I imagine it would sound like Elements of Style. All comparisons aside, what these chill-funk quadruplets bring to the table is something a bit extra-terrestrial.
Now that these fellas have gotten under this writer’s skin and touched my cosmic heart, it’s easy to fall for their grooves. There’s something ear-catching about the way that the vocalist (Zach Fortnight) supplies a jazzy, raw performance. This, coupled with the tightest — lightly psychedelic — funk grooves that I’ve heard in a minute makes for my next favorite band.
These new faves of mine, while they have room to grow, they also seem to have a great deal of hope for the future. Their first album, self-titled, was released in 2006. This album provides a fun, rather bloopy, melding of those raspy vocals I sort of adore with semi-activist lyrics.
With their most recent release (Waves 2013), they MUST be after my heart, considering that the introductory track is something like what an alien would leave on your answering machine after too many Chech’tluth cocktails. After THAT kind of opening, I’m just going to sit back and soak in the synthy, electric, driving song “Can We Find a Way:”
“Far from home
We Travel on
Can we find a way?”
Then the rap starts, and I’m just laying here vibing on myself when I decide I have to feature this group. “I paint a picture of what I feel inside, and then I give it to ya. Take me for granted, and one day you’ll realize…”
Now, although this album tends toward more rock than the 2006 taste of hip-hop and reggae, it is JUST as funky and cosmic. This is the kind of music you’ll catch me listening to with both headphones on, (earbuds won’t do) and see that I’m making some contorted faces that could suggest that I’ve either accidentally clicked on something NSFW in the office, or someone’s really fucking me up with a great bass-line.
My closing remark on Elements of Style would be this: get off to this music. This could mean getting dirty with your partner, getting amped while you’re cleaning, dreaming about the ether in the bath, or however else you get off. It’s not sexy, but due to the out-of-this-world nature, it can bring you to a level of consciousness which enhances any good vibes.