The following review was produced for SVANApaper, and is listed here for archival purposes. Please click here to view the original.
Edelweiss are a four piece indie band from Pennsylvania, comprised of Tommy, Niko, Tony and Coby, and are set to release their debut EP ‘Pre-Columbians’ on September 13th. Think Foals style drumming and guitar riffs augmented with a noticeable 80s vibe, giving musical nods towards the likes of Joy Division and New Order. Edelweiss achieve a contemporary-yet-aged musical juxtaposition with these influences, producing their own diverse sound.After a New York meet up with the band’s two brothers, Coby and Niko, they divulged that Foals were in fact the reason that they became a band. 1965’s ‘The Sound of Music’ starring Julie Andrews however, was not, for they admit to having never seen the film and so is not the origin of the name for those wondering. Furthermore, they pronounce their name “Idle-veiss” which should provide further differentiation from the song in the musical.
The band’s feat is even more remarkable when you consider that the band is of school age with the youngest member, Coby, being fifteen. You shouldn’t be deterred by their youth; their sound is distinctive and fully fledged, most bands of this age would just be finding their feat. Furthermore, they are the true role models that the industry craves, for I couldn’t have met pleasanter people. I also commend them for their originality; it would have been easy for them to replicate the sound of Foals as most teenage fans would have done. Yet incredibly, the band has produced something new and quirky that I much prefer.
Having been listening to Pre-Columbians in its entirety for a few weeks now, I’ve really grown to love the tracks and they have found their way in to my day-to-day playlists alongside names such as Bloc Party, Two Door Cinema Club, Bombay Bicycle Club, Tokyo Police Club and the Strokes. They firmly compliment any library with similar tastes and rack up nicely against the big boys in the industry. More surprisingly however, they’ve found their way in to my Dad’s library alongside the Stone Roses, James and New Order.
This really practically demonstrated the wide age demographic to which this EP could potentially serve and the whole ‘old-new’ ambiance that they sport. Despite their American upbringing, it has a distinctly English sound, undoubtedly from their influences. It even manifests in them singing with a slight English accent. It’s reminiscent of how people mistake the Killers for being British. The EP encompasses five tracks, but how do they individually tally?
Icarus (also the band’s second single) sets the standard high with a heavy beat and almost haunting vocals, yet it still retains an air of positivity. From the first track alone you can note the high quality of the production and a quality of lyrics rarely seen of new or young bands. The track hits the ground running and continues to deliver with quirky guitar melodies and a kind of fanfare affront every line of the chorus that works really well. The instrumental bridges also really work well.
2. A Sound From Pennsylvania
For me, A Sound From Pennsylvania is like a tamed version of You! Me! Dancing! by Los Campesinos. The fully instrumental track starts at a gentle pace and builds to something altogether more exciting and climactic. Coby envisages it being used in adverts, and I could most definitely see it being used to build tension towards a sporting montage or such on television. After the tension building plateaus, it has an almost metropolitan sound and sends images to my brain of those long exposure videos of car lights in a city centre. It also throws to mind a kind of chase and of footsteps gaining pace. The track adds texture to the EP and breaks it up nicely, given that the other tracks share more similarities. It’s the sore thumb that you’ll relish.
Whilst the tracks all individually shine, (NO) is the true gem on the record. The lads had previously correctly identified it as the track to be their first single. It’s an upbeat track with clever melodic vocals, but what really stands out here are the instrumental segments and the chorus. There’s a beautiful guitar riff behind both, making it the catchiest of the set for me. Luckily, there’s a version of the track available for you to sample, have a listen below.
4. Witches & Vampires
Witches & Vampires is the true underdog of the record. It’s perhaps the most simplistic track on the EP, yet it is bold and defined. Its structure is more regular than the other tracks. But it works, with a fast paced intro and remaining pacey throughout, it’s one I expect to have the crowds dancing at gigs. It also pairs nicely with Icarus in terms of haunting vocals. My hat goes off to them for the ending also, it’s original and works fabulously. I’ll leave it for you to discover yourself.
Fiasco sounds a little more Two Door Cinema Club than the other tracks. It deviates from them enough to bring the EP to a gentler end. It was originally the B-Side to the (NO) single and you can see how the two pair well, as they both kind of have that indie-pop feel. Fiasco is another solid track with a memorable and catchy chorus. The close of this track seems to mimic the beating heart which the lyrics portray, a really fitting and satisfying end I found.
The EP’s roots themselves deserve a mention. Being unsigned the band had to fund the studio time and production themselves, but luckily were able to attain funding through internet donations from supporters. Having listened to a couple of tracks before the EP, I have to say I had high expectations. But none as high as what they have produced, I was blown away. I’d be astonished if they remained unsigned for much longer. They seem very suited to the likes of Kitsuné – so the pressure is on them! Considering that we are now ten years on from the Killers first being showcased to the world; we could easily have just discovered the Killers of the new decade. I wish the band luck and every success, for they are certainly promising. ‘Pre-Columbians’ will be available on CD and digital download from September 13th. (Joe)