The sun is slowly setting here in Milan, in this quiet early November afternoon; I’m sitting on the terrace listening to the latest album of a band called Elway, entitled “Better Whenever” (Red Scare Records 2015).
El Way is an American punk rock band from Fort Collins, Colorado and “Better Whenever” is their third album after “Delusions” (Red Scare, 2011) and “Leavetaking” (Red Scare, 2013). In this last work, it’s like the band has mixed their beautiful punk rock sound with indie rock; musically, the album gives more attention to details, with more beautiful and attractive guitar riffs, leaving to the bass guitar a classic punk role and offering slower tracks such as the title track “Better Whenever”.
The album starts with the beautiful “Our lady of the Thompson River” with a great guitar riff and good rhythmic sections, followed by “Albuquerque Low”, one of the best tracks of the album:
“Before you go, I promise you’ll commit my bones
To the salty sand and stone on the gulf of mexico
And When the tide rises to baptize the shore
Let the wind take me home via Albuquerque low “.
As said before, the quiet “Better Whenever” relaxes the atmosphere talking about the passing of time and the desire to get back someone important who’s been lost in time; I personally love the lyrics in the second part of the song:
“So grab your bike, a car, a train, or plane
And just get back to me
Or I can drive or pay for flights
Meet me anywhere tonight
I’ll bring beers or books or songs
I’ll sing and you could sing along
Or sit and smoke or laugh or cry
Pull the hair back from your eyes
Have another drink with me
We’ll toast to our obscurity
You’ll lean in and I’ll calm down
I’ll hemorrhage my neuroses out
If you would let me stick around
I’ll follow you all the way down
And I’ll tell you like you never knew
How good it feels to breath and speak
And hear and see and live and love with you
I’ll get better whenever”.
“Lunatic thirteens” is another very interesting piece that talks about the funeral of an old friend (Jazmine), asking her what happened and how it went until the end.
“Before you left did you say all you wanted to?
Before you died did you do all you meant to do?
Could you look it in the eyes when it came for you?
Tell me how it ends”.
The record goes on between slower and faster songs, keeping as main themes: the journey, the distance, the loss of an important person and the passing of the time.
“Is it one of her regrets
The nights we spent drinking vodka and smoking cigarettes?
Can I ever get it back
The feeling That I have found, everything That I lack? ”
The last track is called “Delano”; a song about tour life, travels, sleeping in the basement of unknown people, and about that girl, who always come back.
“Fear is an empty glass in an empty bar
Opposite the girl you’ll never have
She asks if I ever feel like I’ll disappear
Well, I’ve been battling my irrelevance for years”.
This is definitely one of the best albums I’ve heard lately.
There’s not a song that dosn’t deserve to being heard and appreciated, especially for the great ability of Tim Browne to write direct and emotionally involving lyrics.
If you like The Menzingers, Elway is your next favourite band!