Elika- Trying Got Us Nowhere

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Friday, October 10, 2008

Not only has there been a huge resurgence in shoegaze in recent years, but there has also been a rise in the number of groups in the genre that only consist of two people. Such is the case with New York based male/female combo Elika, whose debut release Trying Got Us Nowhere is very reminiscent of mid 90’s shoegaze combined with just a hint of trip hop. In some ways their debut is more mainstream in nature, as rather than exploring bizarre worlds and landscapes through their music they instead choose to present airy and light melodies that work quite well. And though Trying Got Us Nowhere is all too short, it is an album that should put Elika on the map.

Although Elika may be a two person band, it is amazing how much sound and energy they are able to create. As both members provide keyboard arrangements, the instrumentals on this album are light but often pack a punch in their choruses in order to bring listeners’ attention back from the spacey melodies of the verses. However, it should be mentioned that though this pattern appears frequently throughout the course of Trying Got Us Nowhere, there are times where Elika seems to break out of traditional song structures which is great. Listeners will have heard these melodic shoegaze styles many times before, but this duo still finds ways to make them feel fresh. However, at only 28 minutes long, listeners will be hungry for more as soon as the album has come to a close.

Vocalist Evagelia Maravelias has been getting some comparisons to Madonna due to her light yet seductive singing style, and listeners are sure to pick up on this. However, Maravelias sings in a style that also brings artists such as Ladytron to mind due to the fact that she can not only sing in a seductive manner but also write lyrics that have some depth to them. Her vocals are perfectly matched to the instrumentals, and are able to move from light whispers to powerful and loud melodies seemingly on a dime which is sure to help Elika.

While many of the current generation of shoegaze groups are branching off into stranger directions, Elika is reminiscent of a time when bands of this style were still being given exposure on mainstream radio and had some traditional song structures. Trying Got Us Nowhere is surely going to be a release that helps them gain exposure with an audience still eager to eat this type of music up, but it will take a slightly longer release next time around to truly satisfy that hunger. But for now this album will serve as a proper introduction to a shoegaze band that is here to stay.

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