To own a time machine has always been a dream of mine – to travel through the ages and experience life in different time eras has been my fantasy for as long as I can remember. I always found the late 1960’s and 1970’s particularly appealing. As Sandi Thom put it – ‘Oh I wish I was a punk rocker with flowers in my hair. In ’77 and ’69, revolution was in the air’. Though unfortunately, such a contraption does not exist, and listening to old music is about as close as I can come to actually stepping into the past. Until recently, it has really only been artists from those times that have been able to evoke this – but then I discovered The Equatorial Group. Their new EP, Elvis is done immensely well, incorporating that perfect blend of roughness and precision that I love about the music of Generation X.
I believe that track number 1, “Wrong Song” has now made its way onto my list of personal favourites. It had the laid-back quality of tracks like “Cowgirl in the Sand” or “When You Dance” by Neil Young, but was mixed with the quirky one-note guitar solos and accompaniments typical of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s nuveau-psychadelia movement – think The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Subtle key changes blended perfectly and skilfully into the melody, which reminded me somewhat of the Doors. The ¾ time signature also made this track impossible not to sway to.
Track number two, “Toy Shark” had a more folky overtone and might remind older listeners of that great British band, Steeleye Span. Notwithstanding, I feel this track did not contain enough melodic or rhythmic variety to sustain it for its full 4 minutes 11 seconds. I did however enjoy the choppy bass line, which brought on a feeling of the 1970’s Old Grey Whistle stop favourite, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates.
I did not initially find track number three, “Colourful” appealing, though I grudgingly admit that it grew on me. Just like most books worth reading, most music worth listening to requires an element of perseverance – I had to read Wuthering Heights twice before I fully understood it. “Colourful” does not contain a hugely creative melody, but I do not think that this was supposed to be its purpose. I would imagine that the intention of this song is to evoke a calming atmosphere, and if this is the case, it certainly succeeds in doing so. By the time I reached the end, I found that I had liked it quite a bit and reached over to press the ‘replay’ button on my phone.
This EP continued to impress right through to the end. Track number four, “Motorbikes” was just as enjoyable a listen as the rest, taking on as it did a decidedly more country style, yet still keeping that unique, almost hypnotic quality that I had grown to love about The Equatorial Group. I must also add – and this is quite something – that this is the only country song I remember ever enjoying – although I am constantly reminded that when I was ten months old, my favourite song was ‘Achey Breaky Heart’.