Elder (USA-PA)
Reflect


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
December 15th, 2009 | 106 replies | 16,469 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Reflect is messy, short, and brooding- and the best emotional hardcore album of 2009

I wish I could tell you more about this band. I’m sitting here, trying to dredge up some background information that would explain the sound Elder has so neatly crafted on Reflect, but googling “Elder Reflect” currently only brings up blogs, sputnikmusic’s rating page, and a mediafire link. I suppose the ambiguity works for this band because it makes Reflect like a big secret waiting to be discovered by you kids with your hoodies and your Some Blood vinyls, because- and I’ll make this statement with full confidence- Reflect is the emotional hardcore album of 2009.

It doesn’t achieve this status through sheen or clarity; Reflect doesn’t pull its influences from the shimmering post rock-tinged skramz of Envy or Sed Non Satiata, but rather the shoegazing distorted take of Mesa Verde. The album hides frustration and doubt under a haze of drone and reverb, which makes Reflect a surprisingly chill affair. Quotes from those aforementioned blogs include lines like “the chillest band one could consider ‘Screamo’ i have ever encountered.” This isn’t really a stretch. Elder’s sound is completely engulfing, like a shoegaze take on emo. This isn’t to say Reflect lacks passion- passion is still there, it’s just buried underneath the fury developed by the wave of the instruments. It keeps Reflect shrouded; every time it feels like we can latch on to something clear and straightforward, Elder negates it by either maximizing the chaos or removing the tension completely. The closest insight Reflect offers as to who Elder actually are is on “Ninos,” where one can barely make out screams of ”This world’s not big enough. Where’s your peace? Where’s your prosperity?” under a climactic swell of guitars that render the cries of secondary importance to the atmosphere.

Elder does this pretty consistently throughout Reflect; with the primal screams dropped low in the mix and doubled or tripled, they turn into hazy incoherent shouts that provide the support for the air of sadness purveying throughout even Elder’s most intense passages. While this leads the album to leave impressions rather than memories, it does keep Reflect remarkably focused. The album sounds absolutely unified, with each of its six tracks vital to its direction. Short fiery bursts like “Evasion” and “Vultures” lack the depth of the album’s epics, but more than compensate by sounding completely unleashed out of hell. They shout and scream with intensity that remembers pg.99 and Gospel, but they are quickly hushed by Elder’s deft skill at temperance. There’s definitely a furious, chaotic album in Reflect, but Elder want no part of it. Instead they tease with violence only to kill it with brooding ostinato endings or droning passages. Both “Friendly Fire” and “Remember These Days,” the album’s opuses, start off as furious punk anthems that hint a disgusted rage before ultimately submitting to calm, triumphant riffs that relax the tension. It makes Reflect leave an impression of despair, as if even the most fervent cry is lost in the constant drone of normalcy.

It helps that Reflect is disgustingly quick. At a brief six tracks, Reflect doesn’t blow up its importance or stretch beyond what’s absolutely required of it, but make no mistake: it is the perfect length. Should the album have been any longer, it would probably have started to feel drawn out, any shorter and it would feel slight. Reflect is a succinct work of emotional hardcore that arrives, says its peace and leaves a bewildered but whole hearted “Fuck Yeah” in its wake. Even if Elder aren’t as polished as some of their contemporaries whom they so obviously wish to be associated with (check out the As the Roots Undo homage in “Remember These Days”), Reflect is a stellar little gem from another solid American skramz band. They should enjoy the ambiguity they have now; should they flesh out and ever put out a record of the same quality as Reflect with enough material to garner mass attention, Elder could well reach that upper echelon of skramz dominated right now by Europeans and bookworm Georgians. Till then, they will be our little secret.



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user ratings (68)
Chart.
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2009



15730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

a 'fuck trying its finals week' review for you all

Digging: Alvvays - Alvvays

Roach
December 15th 2009



2149 Comments


nice, adam downer

Homewrecker
December 15th 2009



231 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. Just got this recently, haven't listened enough to rate yet, but I really like it.

BallsToTheWall
December 15th 2009



44164 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Hate hate hate the vocals. I'll try to listen to this some more though as I like the band's premise.

BigTuna
December 15th 2009



5155 Comments


Yeah, I like this, I'm just not sure how much.

DFelon204409
Emeritus
December 15th 2009



3995 Comments


I didn't realize these guys were releasing a full length. I thought their EP last year was great. I'll check it out.

Phantom
December 15th 2009



8930 Comments


I only have the debut EP, but it's great, so I'll probably check this out as well

Artwork's cool too

plane
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2009



6093 Comments


I love the way you describe this album. Makes me really want to start dissecting it to see how much it can grow.

SeaAnemone
December 15th 2009



19996 Comments


This is good, but no way the best of 09's screamo. Glad you finally did the review though, this is much better than mine would've been, I wasn't really feeling up to it.

Digging: Natural Snow Buildings - The Night Country

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2009



15730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

im curious as to what you'd consider the best of 09s screamo. pianos become the teeth?

SeaAnemone
December 15th 2009



19996 Comments


maths - descent
love that record,

followed by pianos become the teeth, then this, then Daitro not too far behind

Minus The Flair
Emeritus
December 15th 2009



862 Comments


definitely interested in this, will check out post haste

Yazz_Flute
December 15th 2009



18770 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

downloading now. I've been kinda cramming this month to see if I can find any gems from 09.

Digging: Eskaton - 4 Visions

PirateSquid
December 15th 2009



1881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'll listen to this album again, but I'm not seeing too much.
Dunno.

EDIT:
Saw it, loved it.
Though not the best of '09, it's still great.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 15th 2009



15730 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

still 4/5?

tricky edit

PirateSquid
December 15th 2009



1881 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Your mom's an edit.

I might lower this down to 3.5 because that was kind of on the spot because it was really great the first listen.
Dunno about the rest of them.

SlightlyEpic
December 15th 2009



5780 Comments


a shoegaze take on emo...

damnit they stole my idea

Relinquished
December 15th 2009



24918 Comments


I'm gonna look this up.

Like the giant Ness artwork.

PanasonicYouth
December 15th 2009



7411 Comments


downloaded this and it came with three extra tracks: town of clay, shifting gaze, and golden flower

did i win a prize drawing or something?

FigNewtns
December 15th 2009



716 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

those are tracks from the EP.

love this album.



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