Music News

Synthetic Elements

Standing Still is an apt title for the latest from Synthetic Elements, which celebrates the disc's release on Saturday, April 28, at the Marquis Theater, with Animo, Saving Verona, Aloft in the Sundry and Ras Steady. There's nothing new in the band's sound, but the players channel old styles so well that the album is kinda fun despite itself.

Primary Elements Kyle Hernandez, Mike Blecha, Joe Pollock and Todd McMullan are as tight a unit as Randy Johnson, and they get a big assist from co-producer Chris Murray, a Hepcat associate who supercharges the material. As for the songs, they're generally entertaining, if thoroughly derivative. "Standing Still" represents galloping ska/punk, "Savor the Taste of Disgrace" goes the Irish-punk route, and "I Can't Believe" has an L.A. punk feel -- and that's just the first three tracks.

Listeners have heard stuff like this before. If they want to hear it again, they could do a lot worse.

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts