Do you remember a time when music was interesting, psychedelic and yet, at the same time fun? It’s hard, isn’t it? Perhaps because this marriage of psychedelia and fun is not that common – at least not anymore. You’d have to go back to the music made in the late sixties or early seventies to find a larger pool of it relatively easily. By the way, if you do, check out tracks such as Procol Harum’s “Good Captain Clack” or “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!” by the Beatles, as they are fantastic songs and productions. And if you don’t much like the music made in the sixties, don’t worry, there is another way to find out what I am talking about. Just google the Spanish Elastic Band’s fantastic single “All It’s Done” and give it a spin.
Elastic Band’s press release characterizes the group like this:
Their songs are sonic collages that use daring tricks as a means to intertwine decades, genres, trends and frequencies. This is done to reach unexpected musical destinations. With songs that could style-wise be described as leftovers from the 20th century, this duo is attempting to create 21st century pop. Their new album celebrates love, friendship and positive attitude, as reflected by the cover by Camille Perkins.
It’s a spot-on characterization. And the proof is in the pudding. The sixties-influenced “All It’s Done,” mixes perfectly crafted pop with psychedelia and country music, much in the same vein as The Byrds did on their critically acclaimed “Notorious Byrd Brothers” album. If you think about it, this is a combination that shouldn’t work, but it does when it’s done right. The harmonies on “All It’s Done” are gorgeous, bringing to mind the best of the sixties folk rock. Equally impressive is the arrangement, owing a lot to the Smile-era Beach Boys and obviously, Brian Wilson. Jimi Hendrix once made a humorous comment about the Beach Boys, stating that they sounded like “barbershop quartet on acid.” The irony here, of course, is that assuming we are discussing the Smile-era material, that’s actually a pretty accurate description of them, and also one that could be used to describe Elastic Band’s performance on “All It’s Done.”
Intrigued to find out more about this group’s influences, I sent them a few questions over Easter. Describes Pablo Román of the Elastic Band:
We are influenced by all kinds of genres, anything from rockabilly to electronic music, but obviously within the framework of pop. In the specific case of “All It's Done,” the roots stem from western swing or hillbilly music, if you will. The track’s decorated with a funny synthesizer but it’s basically acoustic pop. Perhaps, the melody is more influenced by the sixties – Kinks perhaps?
Uncharacteristically for songs featured on this playlist, the lyric of “All It’s Done” is basically a nonsense lyric, a fun lyric, combining phrases and words rather than telling a story or even making any sense. This was why I tossed and turned over whether to feature it on Music To Celebrate Life. However, ultimately, I had to give in to the quality of the music. What I heard was so compelling and brilliant that I knew I had to do a write-up on the track. While “All It’s Done” might not be everybody’s cup of tea (I’m rather sure it isn’t), it is an absolute treasure for anyone appreciating originality, craftsmanship, attention to detail, irresistible melodies and beautiful vocal harmonies.
When asked about who does what in Elastic Band, Pablo Román answers:
When it comes to making records, it’s the two of us, María Sánchez and I (Pablo Román), who do all the recording, mixing and mastering. Maria plays the synthesizers, bass guitar and percussion and I usually play the guitars, mandolin, banjo and sing. Both of us are involved in the mixing process. If we play live, we need a drummer to come help us out.
Returning to the topic of the psychedelic sixties, a story Carlos Santana has told in quite a few interviews, when asked about his performance at Woodstock, testifies to the fact that the Beach Boys were not the only ones enhancing their minds during that era. Thinking he had plenty of time before it was his turn to go on, Santana dropped acid. However, due to schedule changes, he had to climb on stage only a short while after taking LSD. And what a climb on stage it was! According to Carlos, when he looked down at his hands while playing, he was hallucinating that the neck of his guitar was turning into a slithering snake! Well, whether that’s true or not, Santana sure held his grip and put out a truly magnificent performance that turned him into a superstar almost overnight – not trying to insinuate here that one should take drugs to make great music or become a superstar. Come to think of it, maybe that’s what I like most about Elastic Band. They prove, for once and for all, that you can make awesome, experimental and far-out music without hallucinogens…not that I was there to supervise the writing and the recording process.
Oh, and about Santana and Woodstock…don’t try that at home – ever.
Check out this very cool video of “All It’s Done” – it will put a smile on your face.
You can learn more about Elastic Band here:
About the curator - Tommi Tikka
Tom Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in; to him, they are a way of life.