Review: Elder – The Gold & Silver Sessions

The Gold and Silver Sessions is the result of an inspired studio jam undertaken by Elder during their European tour last autumn. Recorded in Berlin, it was never meant to be seen as a follow up to the monumental Reflections Of A Floating World but more as an experimental left turn, an avenue in which to explore different sounds and textures, forming part of the forthcoming Postwax releases from Blues Funeral Recordings. The result is a warm, rewarding listen that sees the band break away somewhat from their trademark riff heavy sound. 

‘Illusory Moment’ opens the album – an atmospheric, lush and otherworldly track which builds gradually with chiming guitar lines, steady bass and a cool, understated groove. Reminiscent of both Pearl Jam’s quieter late 90’s moments (think No Code and Yield) and a looser, groovier Dave Gilmour led Pink Floyd the track also highlights the talents of keyboardist Mike Riseburg who creates some wonderful pulsating soundscapes that lend the track a gorgeously hypnotic feel. As the track progresses, the bass gets fuzzier, the drums a little nervier and the whole piece culminates in a slightly heavier, psychedelic space. ‘Im Morgengrauen ’ opens in a gentler fashion, with restrained keys, murmuring bass and subtle guitar licks. Once again the focus is on atmosphere and improvisation, and perfectly demonstrates what accomplished musicians Elder truly are.

Closer ‘Weißensee’ is the longest track here and at over eighteen minutes showcases the band at their most experimental and rhythmic, opening with a skittish refrain that wouldn’t sound out of place on Radiohead’s King Of Limbs. As the track moves to its midpoint, emotive guitar lines nudge in as the underlying rhythms beginning to subtly change and slightly murkier riffs begin to emerge. The track ends on a grandiose scale – closing the album with blisteringly euphoric and uplifting guitar leads, rendering this passage the one most reminiscent of Elder’s usual sound.

Whilst The Gold & Silver Sessions certainly moves away from the signature sound of Elder and may not initially be what fans expect, it’s incredibly refreshing to hear a band loosen the reigns and just create music for the sheer joy of it. This is the sound of four talented musicians creating wonderfully immersive music without rules or genre limitations and it will certainly be interesting to see whether the sounds discovered here influence any of their future releases. 

The Gold & Silver Sessions is released on 12th July via Blues Funeral Recordings and can be purchased here.

Words: Adam Pegg

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