Biting Elbows. If we were to judge bands by their names alone often we would have to settle with whatever image was conjured by just hearing it for the first time. Very rarely does hindsight intervene and say, “Wait! Papa Roach was a GENIUS name for a band! What absolute idiots we all were!” etc, more often then not your opinion on that band will stick.
Thankfully, we have the ability of looking beyond those more trivial aspects of bands, and can focus on what it really should always come down to. The songs, maaaaan…
Biting Elbows are an interesting case, however, as their music actually manages to marry well the images conjured by hearing their name, as in that feeling of frustration you get when you are SO sure you can bite your own elbow- the exhilaration you feel as you get closer (SO close!) that you are sure all your effort and time and patience will be rewarded, will amount to something, and then…. no.
And you submit to the failure.
Not that ‘Biting Elbows’ is a failure, by any means. As a band it’s almost impossible not to imagine that, as the cliche goes, they aren’t brilliant, amazing even, live- it’s just that on album they dont pull it off as you belive they could.
The songs all chug along pleasantly enough, Rabid Red assuring us that “violence solves everything, everytime” whilst sounding like a chaste version of the slightly crappier bits of “Nimrod-era” Green Day and Who am I to Stand Still? sounding like an almost good Arctic Monkeys B-Side or even (eeeeep…) a Ceazers A-Side.
One of my main problems with ‘Biting Elbows’, though, is that it seems to stumble through the bog of, ahem, ‘indie rock’, with a clumsiness that doesnt play with the “snarling irrevarant punk attitude” they sound as though they’re trying desparately to convince us is sincere. Which is a shame, as it lets the record down.
One of the highlights is Hyper Waltz, a rare blast of effective jublient energy from a band who, unless you see them live I’d wager, leave you with the sensation of being caught in the space between biting your own elbow, and painful reality- frustration. SO close!