By: Olivia Goheen –
Listening to The Elwins encapsulate the 60’s-inspired pop-rock spirit on their new album Play For Keeps will surely put a jig in your step. The group has been noted for sounding similar to The Beach Boys with a jaunty, summery sound. Last year, their debut album And I Thank You was re-released on Hidden Pony Records, and the second album from the Keswick, Ontario band adds diversity to their classic sound, but always remains true to their quirky approach.
The young band wanted to venture towards an altered sound and recreated an electronic 80’s sonic feel blended with their ‘60s retro technique. Sex, heartbreak, and just-plain fun, make up the album’s erratic subject matter, coinciding with their genuine sound. The title Play For Keeps stands as testimony to the band preserving their classic sound regardless of new inspirations.
The 12-track record has plenty of zest from the ample synthesizers perking up each song with brighter moods and dance-ability. The first single “So Down Low” is a declaration of loss and hardship, while the band embellish their optimistic instrumentation to add an uplifting element. The track starts with a memorable guitar riff that continuously builds towards a joyful chorus. Pleasantly smooth track “Sexual Intellectual” is a well-made pop tune with a catchy sing-along chorus, subverting the lyrics’ explicit nature. The song discusses a man that is fighting against his internal desire, but the self-control is surreal. Tranquility blends into paradise on “Shining Star” while the intergalatic synth sounds soothing. The whimsical “It Ain’t Over ‘Til it’s Over” possesses a cheerful tone that completely jumps to the ear with a splash of intense vocal energy during the chorus.
Overall, the all-inclusive album offers enjoyment and happiness, sure to become a great soundtrack for summer 2015. The Elwins announced dates for their Canadian tour, including March 8 at the Hoxton in Toronto for a special release show. Bring your appetite for the high-energy of their live show.
Essential Tracks: “So Down Low”, “Sexual Intellectual”, and “It Ain’t Over ‘Til it’s Over”