Liminal pop promises…
The “magickal pop perfection” that debut album Mercurial (see TEC review previously) offered certainly put Elisabeth Elektra on the map as an artist worth keeping an eye on. In an interview for TEC at the time, the album’s themes of transformation and change seemed to be a key element. So it made sense to query Elektra on where she was plotting to go next with her new material. “It’s definitely different. I think it’s more straightforward in a way, but the same themes are there I think.”
As it turned out, her musical journey took a slight detour when she entered into a collaborative affair running under the banner of Silver Moth. Originally concocted during a series of remote Zoom discussions, Silver Moth drew together the likes of Stuart Braithwaite (Mogwai), Matthew Rochford, Evi Vine, Steven Hill, drummer Ash Babb and cellist Ben Roberts alongside vocal duties from Elektra. Recording in the Isle of Lewis, the musical team pulled together a strange, mesmerising collection of tracks that eventually saw light in April 2023 in the form of the critically-acclaimed Black Bay album.
But Elektra wasn’t solely focussed on this intriguing side project, keen to return to her next post-Mercurial outing. That’s now been realised with the release of new EP Broken Promises, which sees Elektra serving up some excellent compositions and demonstrating that her talents haven’t withered during that previous downtime.
Earlier in the year, the EP was previewed with the ethereal moods of ‘The Dream’, a track which also saw co-production duties from Jonny Scott (CHVRCHES) and some synth duties from Benjamin John Power (Blanck Mass, Editors). It was also clearly a track that seemed to be a natural evolution of the liminal pop of Mercurial; a driving synth-powered affair that knows how to play around with lyrical hooks. In fact it sounds at times like a suitable sibling to the anthemic ‘My Sisters’ from Elektra’s debut offering. The themes at the heart of ‘The Dream’ apparently revolve around “the initiatory nature of relationship breakdowns that often culminate in increased personal power and connection to and expression of one’s true will”. Elektra’s musings on that track show a clear continuity with Mercurial’s dabbling into ideas of transformation and change.
Meanwhile, title track ‘Broken Promises’ opts for a raw, almost primal direction augmented by Stuart Braithwaite’s visceral guitar work. The song had been conceived during a difficult period for Elektra, which she described as a time that was “unstable and disorientating”. But that element of transformation is also still present and correct: “Music has always been a way for me to channel more difficult emotions such as rage into something productive.”
The EP is also rounded out with two further exemplary compositions. ‘Circe’ is more of a step into classic dreampop territory with its shimmering moods. Then there’s the swirling pop of ‘Green is Not Yr Colour’, a captivating number which also has a harder edge buried in Elektra’s lyrical bite.
Broken Promises is out now via Mogwai/Rock Action: https://elisabethelektra.bandcamp.com/album/broken-promises-ep