Article by KevW
Within the first minute of opening track 'I Wish I Could Swim' we get hazy, distorted guitar that's complimented by wavering chimes and then a distant, almost otherworldly vocal, so it's clear right from the off that we're possibly in the realms of shoegaze and dreampop with 'You Feel Bad About You', the new album by Salamanca, NewYork band elemantra, but what also becomes apparent on the first song is that formulas don't really apply. By the middle of the track the atmosphere has changed and is closer to US alt-rock. You get the impression that the album could be an interesting ride, especially as they close this opening gambit with a hybrid of both (barring the final few seconds where a more traditional guitar solo also joins in).
This blend bleeds through into the sometimes grungy 'We All Know' where guitars are again allowed to roam free. The short, scuzzy title-track is a highlight, pushing them closer to shoegaze again, and then the epic 'Bermuda' finds us in dreampop territory that once more brings in alt-rock influences as it builds. The album flits between the two genres regularly, as if trying to find the perfect way to combine them. 'Saccharine' gets it right, as does the dreamy 'Bunny', and the trippy, sample-heavy 'Reticulan' is interesting for all the right reasons.
'You Feel Bad About You' is sometimes a bit disjointed and does slightly misfire on occasion (single 'Clovers' suffers a little from the quality of the recording), although it's a good album on the whole and is certainly the sound of a band who have plenty of ideas and potential, even if it does feel as though they're still finding their feet at times. Given more time to gel, and perhaps with the help of an external producer, elemantra have what it takes to go the distance. It's certainly a space worth watching.
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