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3 piece band Elsewhere’s powerful “The Pledge”

Surrealism has been a trending aesthetic in the last few years, but in the new music video for Elsewhere’s powerful “The Pledge,” it’s adapted into a joint visual and aural experience that touches on bitter emotionality and gut-wrenching honesty when we’re least expecting to find it. Constructed like a mini-movie instead of a simple rock video, “The Pledge” evokes a profound reaction out of its viewers with a lot more than flashy imagery alone; intertwined together in this piece we find music and visual virtuosities blending into a haze of deep-feeling expression. Elsewhere might not be the only brooding alternative rock group around these days, but here, they prove themselves to be one of the more elite in their scene and peer group at the moment.

BANDCAMP: https://elsewhereboston.bandcamp.com/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/elsewhereband

Compositionally speaking, “The Pledge” doesn’t really challenge the status quo through its tonal presence so much as it rejects industry norms through a cerebral songcraft fully-realized by producers when it came time to record and master this track. The music video is, in this regard, simpler than its source material, as the shots that comprise its most moving moments aren’t as layered (literally and figuratively) as the songwriting style itself. There’s something really special about a band that’s willing to push the boundaries without knowing how it’s going to sound on the other side of the glass, and in this instance I think we get to understand just how far Elsewhere are willing to go in order to stake a place all their own in the hierarchy of modern indie rock.

There are a couple of moments in the video for “The Pledge” that start to feel a little too elegiac for this critic to handle, but they’re frequently countered with such a raw color from the vocal harmonies in the background that this feeling never lasts for very long. Elsewhere go out of their way to push us to the edge of our seats with a visceral sonic edge via the instrumentation, and ironically enough they spend the rest of their time here trying to reel us back in with familiar but jarring statements that amount to a retrospective as much as they do a very, very personal commentary on Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a lot to take in, but nevertheless I’d rank this is an important listen for fans of alternative music in general.

Elsewhere are not working with major label money, nor would it appear that they’re trying to breakthrough onto the FM dial strictly on the back of their ability to conform to the mainstream model – quite frankly, they’re doing things their own way here and sounding damn swaggering along the way. Catharsis is difficult to come by in 2020, and though there are a lot of angles from which you can interpret the deeper meaning of “The Pledge” for both the band and the story they’re trying to tell here, I think most critics will agree with me when I say this is top notch alternative rock that truly sells itself.

John McCall

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