Album review: Elliot Minor – Solaris

Posted on 3 November 2009
By Jon Kerr
  • Share:

Elliot Minor – Solaris

What do Elliot Minor sound like? Something between Queen and Busted. Or AFI and Coldplay. Or John Williams and Will Young. Something like all of the above AND none of the above…. it’s a pickle.

Their songwriter Alex Davies has created an impressive sounding sophomore album in equally impressive time with “Solaris” and in doing so presents us with a hard-to-define, post-Busted pop album that Muse fans are invited to enjoy. Want a teen-pop-orchestral-emo-rock enigma? You got it…

The title “Solaris” is presumably taken from the Stanisław Lem sci-fi novel of the same name, which is about mind-reading aliens (the artwork seems to depict the planet that novel is set on). That is logical given that Davis opens up his private thoughts on some tracks (Carry On, Tethered) and remains elusive on others (Electric High, Solaris).

Musically, the presence of strings and harmonies show that Elliot Minor are not moving away from their classical tendencies just yet. The opening partnership of “The Dancer” and “I Believe” blend classical strings and guitar work effectively, and in an unpretentious radio-friendly way.

The single “Electric High” uses a Simple Plan-esque chorus (‘Take me higher, take me high / I wanna feel your essence come to life’) and an addictive hook which will raise the lowest of spirits.

Elsewhere, the “Coming Home” is a poppy mid-career-Muse homage and “Carry On” starts with vocal effects also available on Pendulum’s “In Silico”. Not a moment goes by without being reminded of something else out there. And yet “Solaris” does homage in a strangely credible mammer. Its two highlights are probably the theatrical title number and the diverse “Shiver”: both tracks are more-is-more stadium anthems which use all the toys in the box. This album is a giant leap forward for emokind.

Moreover, “All Along” does pop and classical piano more convincingly, more purely, than Coldplay; and yet the result could happily sit on a clever stage musical soundtrack. If you have heard Elliot Minor before now you’ll forgive how difficult it is to summarise their sound easily.

This band are doing things their immediate pop predecessors only dreamt of, and if a pop-boy-band has always seemed like your idea of torture then maybe now might be the time to get strapped in…

Out on Repossesion Records now

Headline tour dates:
NOV Wed 4 – Wrexham , Central Station
NOV Thu 5 – Porstmouth, Wedgewood Rooms
NOV Fri 6 – Oxford, O2 Academy 2
NOV Sat 7 – Northampton, Roadmender
NOV Mon 9 – Exeter, Pheonix Arts Centre
NOV Tue 10 – Nottingham, Rescue Rooms
NOV Thu 12 – Leeds, Cockpit
NOV Fri 13 – Coventry, Kasbah
NOV Sat 14 – Birmingham, 02 Academy 2
NOV Mon 16 – Cambridge, Junction
NOV Tue 17 – Norwich, Waterfront
NOV Wed 18 – Manchester, Academy 2
NOV Thu 19 – Swansea, Sin City
NOV Fri 20 – London, HMV Forum
NOV Sat 21 – Newcastle, O2 Academy
NOV Thu 26 – Aberdeen, HMV Moshulu
NOV Fri 27 – Dundee, Fat Sams
NOV Sat 28 – Edinburgh, HMV Picturehouse
DEC Thr 3 – Belfast,  Limelight
DEC Fri 4 – Cork, Cyprus Avenue
DEC Sat 5 – Galway, Roisin Dubh
DEC Sun 6 – Dublin, Academy