Driven by a vigorous pulse that beckons vintage rock n’ roll harmonies reimagined for a post-millennial palate, Elsewhere doesn’t waste any time reaching through the stereo speakers and drawing us into the web of pure amplified bliss that is Multi-Man, their much anticipated new EP out this August. One part homage to The Police, one part creative growth spirt, Multi-Man is an EP that marks an awesome milestone for one of Massachusetts’ most criminally overlooked rock bands. While Elsewhere’s legacy has already been cemented through their extensive songbook, which has been celebrated within the indie rock world for over two decades now, Multi-Man exceeds what is typically estimated from a band that has gone through as much both professionally and privately as they have. Pop music is about to enter an entirely new epoch in its rocky history, and for the first time in nearly 15 years, there’s an empty throne just begging for the taking. Something tells me that Elsewhere is more than aware of the vacancy – they intend on filling the void.
The biggest problem that I’ve got with rock bands of today is that they are usually pretty quick to follow any trend, no matter how completely lacking in aesthetical depth it may be. Elsewhere doesn’t just refuse to follow the pack, they straight up scoff at the notion in Multi-Man’s title track, which conjures images of roaring tidal waves crashing into each other and spraying sonic mist over anything and everything within their proximity. The song maintains its ferocity even in the more radio-friendly mix also included on the EP, and it doesn’t stand alone as the only reason to get a copy of this record. In their excellent cover of The Police classic “Do You Believe Me Baby,” Elsewhere take a rock standard and transform it into a stellar slice of jarring progressive punk that many young fans will find more relatable than the original. When you consider how difficult a task that really is to accomplish, to actually reinvent a song that was already a hit and make it more accessible to present day audiences, it becomes impossible to dismiss Elsewhere as anything other than legends in their own time.
While the short running time of Multi-Man leaves a little to be desired, the point of extended plays has never been to give us the whole lot up front. These five tracks give us just enough of a teaser of what Elsewhere is all about that the vast majority of us (or at least those of us with any taste) will almost certainly stick around to see and hear whatever project the band tackles next. After listening to this EP and hearing just how talented and dexterous these guys really are when they’re firing on all cylinders, I’ve gone back through their older work and realized just how shortsighted mainstream critics were in their analysis of this band in their salad days. The past in the past though, and the future clearly appears to be on Elsewhere’s side.