ALBUM REVIEW: Little Brother Eli – EP
When your friends recommend that you listen to a new band, how much do you listen to them? Undoubtedly there are some sources you trust more than others. I’m the same. So when one of my most credible musical influencers mentioned Little Brother Eli, I noted it down and looked them up almost immediately. I’m pretty glad I did.
Little Brother Eli is a collaboration between vocalist Alex Grew and bass guitarist Joshua Rigal. The blues influenced pair have just released their debut EP which was written, recorded and produced by the band – not something to laugh at in an age where many groups relinquish such creative control to grab the deal. Enlisting the support a full back-up band, the duo have pulled out all the stops to make an impact on an increasingly crowded blues and rock market.
This eponymous debut EP is a pretty tasty preview of their range of styles and influences. Kicking off with the playful and teasing ‘Animal Fair‘ it is immediately clear that Little Brother Eli are seriously soulful about their blues. They don’t mess about when announcing themselves; from chord one they intend to grab you by the neck and pull you in with their fun and funky bluesy flair.
Soon after this fairly boisterous start, we see a darker side altogether with ‘Awkward Positions‘. A sexy blues number, it could easily be a Jack White creation. Depicting a devious and seductive woman, it nicely builds into a thrashing and tumultuous final third act, drawing the listener into the same spiders web as the subject of the song.
‘When She Sings‘ completes the EP and it takes us in a more summery direction. Talking of being in love, it’s a happy-go-lucky tune with a rock-edge. What makes the track so utterly unique is that poppy verses are interspersed with more rock-based choruses. It’s a random mix, but it works. For a b-side it has definite commercial appeal and to be a bit cheesy and quote the song itself; to me it sounds beautiful.
Alex Grew’s vocals are absolute perfection throughout the EP. Hearty and soulful, every ounce of emotion is milked to the nth degree. It’s a rare voice which demands to be heard live, especially during the acoustic sounding moments of ‘Awkward Positions’.
This is an EP to add to your playlist and a band to add to add to your watch list. What direction they ultimately take is anybody’s guess; this trio of tracks demonstrates a few different routes they could take. If they make a full album like this, it will be unmissable.
If you like The Black Keys, you should love this. While they may not be the first on the scene, there is definitely plenty of room for Little Brother Eli in this genre.
Download the EP from Bandcamp here
Listen to the full EP via Soundcloud
Check out the video to ‘Animal Fair’ below