Critic's Choice

Elastica, Sunday, September 24, at the Bluebird Theater, with the Meat Puppets, debuted on these shores in 1995 with a self-titled disc/guilty pleasure that had very little to do with what was going on musically at the time. Whereas fellow Brits like those in Oasis and Blur were embracing 60s-and-beyond power pop, Elasticas Justine Frischmann came across like a charmingly shameless post-punk time traveler; in an interview with Westword (Stretching Out,: June 14, 1995), she said, I think its absolutely fine to be very obvious about your influences if you can make a good song out of them.: Half a decade and numerous personnel changes later, Frischmann hasnt changed her tune. The Menace, Elasticas much belated followup, is, if anything, even more retro than its predecessor, thanks to a guest shot by the Falls Mark E. Smith on the organ-drenched, pogo-ready How He Wrote Elastica Man,: a cheeky, chintzy cover of the Trio novelty Da Da Da: (which, according to the Atlantic Records Web site, was welcomed once again into the hearts of Americans via its inclusion in a nationwide Volkswagen television advertising campaign:) and a sneering, somewhat silly sound straight from the Wayback Machine. In just about every conceivable circumstance, this would be a bad thing, but damn it if tracks such as Mad Dog: (decorated with witty synthesized barking) and the aggressively dumb Your Arse My Place: dont smack the pleasure center anyhow. As for the title of Nothing Stays the Same,: its as misleading as it can be, since Elastica remains as enjoyably anachronistic as ever.


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