Album of the Day: Elastica

Every day for the rest of December I’ll be recommending some music for your ears – or maybe it could serve as something of a Christmas gift guide. It’ll be a mix of classic albums, neglected gems and new bits of gorgeousness.

I’ve been compulsively listening to Elastica’s eponymous debut for the last few days. Fourth single “Waking Up” is nothing short of aural crack: fitting for a band consistently plagued by, ahem, narcotic problems.

I can’t help but think singer Justine Frischmann’s then-boyfriend Damon Albarn isn’t taking that performance all that seriously…

Britpop heartthrobs aside, this album is great. The songs are short, sharp and witty: Frischmann told an Observer reporter back in 2002 that she had a very low boredom threshold and, in the best possible way, it shows here. There’s no noodling, no self-indulgence; in fact there’s very little but riff-verse-chorus and back again, occasionally with a pumping bass line thrown in for good measure.

As well as that, they’re an aesthetic delight: those boyish, floppy locks and chunky boots that Frischmann and her androgynous cohorts sport seem, all of a sudden, ever so chic again.

As a snapshot of 1995, before Britpop got lumbering and stupid and girls still were boys who did girls like they were boys (and so on), Elastica is a very special artefact. As darkly smart as Suede at their best, with the filthy wit of Jarvis Cocker and a bit of feminine charm, this record is quite rightly on track to become something of a cult classic.

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