The green county of Shropshire may be more synonymous with pretty market towns and chintzy tea rooms than agonised post-rock, but local boys The Elijah have unearthed a world of anguish under the lush exterior of the English countryside. And by God, they’ll wring that angst for all its worth on this, their debut album.
The opening track, In Misery (of course!) marries portentous clouds of sombre melody and funereal drums to animalistic, skin-flaying howls from Dan Tomley and existential crooning from his co-frontman, Mike McGough. ‘I’m afraid of dying alone,’ he sobs, ‘but I know that’s how this ends’.
Synths swell from one crescendo to the next, placing the band musically somewhere between Aereogramme and This Will Destroy You, and the pessimism piles on through I Hated, I Destroyed and In Death. It becomes suffocating, the songs bleeding indistinctly into one another until they become one amorphous glob of gloom.
There’s plenty of promise here, but The Elijah need to learn to expand on their ideas. Until they do it’s difficult to find much of a reason to offer company to their particular brand of misery.