Ela: Real Blood on Fake Trees

Real Blood on Fake Trees
Afternoon Records

At Christmas dinner this year (mostaccioli and ham—don't ask) my 16-year-old cousin tittered over the silence (don't ask) and opined that her cat, whose neck was decorated in a velvet red bow, looked "emo." Wha? It's not like it was wearing a Dashboard Confessional T-shirt and leg warmers.

Her sister responded to my obvious look of befuddlement: "Lame," she told me. "Or gay." Ah, yes. Except for new synonyms, high school hasn't changed a bit. I'm down with the lingo, though that word—"emo," that is—has made my skin crawl like a toddler chasing a dog's tail since at least 1996.

That said, this second effort from four-piece local kinda-supergroup Ela (composed of Bill Caperton and Knol Tate of Askeleton and Sean McPherson and Peter Leggett of Heiruspecs) sometimes treads that terrain whose name I dare not mention. Yet Ela never careen into the self-indulgence and genre-specific feigned and strained vocals that make the sound so easy for anyone with a guitar, vocal chords, and an Urban Outfitters-loving, suburban ex-girlfriend to mimic.

Instead, Caperton is beautifully restrained and earnest, often contemplative and quiet, and Leggett's groovy beats and Tate's ethereal keyboards lend the band a dreamy, dance-y, new-wave sound. In fact, the band goes beyond the sum of its supergroup parts, and often sounds like a collaboration of something much larger. Bits of critically acclaimed local groups the Plastic Constellations; Halloween, Alaska; and Duplomacy are reflected in Ela's varied pre-slumber and post-party sound, which is a beautiful thing. Because even as our MyUniverse is infinitely expanding, it proves we are more intimately intertwined than ever, and that some things, like high school, never do change.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >