Elastica : The Radio 1 Sessions

Radio sessions from recently-disbanded spiky poshos...

It seems only yesterday when some posh upstart with tidy cheekbones took advantage of the sounds and styles of punk rock and sent the music business delirious. And, in the case of Julian Casablancas, it was only yesterday. But beforeThe Strokes, Justine Frischmann and Elastica pulled a broadly similar trick. And before the dithering, drugs and acrimonious splits from the bloke out of Gorillaz took precedence, it’s worth remembering that they were rather good at it, too.

The cautionary tale of Elastica is laid out here in seven chapters, each one corresponding to a Radio 1 Session. At the start, the likes of ‘Annie’ and ‘Line Up’ (at least the equals of official versions) have a spindly verve that few British bands of the time could match. Part Six, however (from mid ’96), is where young Casablancas should start paying attention. It’s the point where Frischmann, having grasped the limitations of her simple and excellent original idea, runs up against a brick wall trying to improve on it, and the decent songs come from soon-to-be-departed Donna Matthews.

By 1999, and the last session for John Peel, they’re a shambles: rarely can a band have spent so long ‘working’ on tunes and come up with nothing better than ‘Your Arse My Place’. If only they’d stuck to ripping off Wire.

John Mulvey