REVIEW: Elbury Shake Sheoak Shack

Brisbane group Elbury hit Fingal Head, NSW on a Saturday night just one week out from the release of their third EP titled Demasquerade.

Rolling across the State border, the Sheoak Shack feels like the right way to welcome the small crowd to this sleepy fishing, surfing, and artists hamlet.

Tonight the place is drenched in umbrellas and backyard pool lighting from a decade long since past. Gallery by day and a café-cum-music venue by night, it’s a fine place to rest as Elbury take the stage in their current four-piece incarnation.

There’s a lot going on here, and where to start? How about a not-too-tenuous parallel with The Cure’s biggest hit Lovecats.The stripped-down minor jazz instrumentation of Elbury’s set opener shows off their musicianship just like it did in 1983 for Robert Smith. There’s definitely no Smith Stray Cat Strut here and it’s not the place for it (although a few Shoek Shack Mojito’s could soon fix that). Instead we get quiet musical confidence from the rest of the band. There’s smart Johnny Greenwood-y guitar and echoes of seminal acoustic Aussie act Art of Fighting. An oft-used comparison of Belle and Sebastian resonates tonight with the unique fully formed narrative voice of Edward Buckridge. There’s an impressive capacity as a storyteller in Buckridge – something worth pursuing further on the band’s recordings.

Elbury try out a new track Empty Headed and this is the pinnacle of the set. The group try vocal harmonies on this song and nail it – a harbinger of more new music in 2015 this reviewer hopes. They retreat to “safe territory” next up with a track from their EP of late 2013, Report On The Night. Elbury play on unafraid of a rock-ier number with echoes of Jose Gonzales. Their set coming to a close, the band finish with an untested new track closing out in a jam, leaving backyard lighting lingering and a Fingal Head crowd appreciative of the visitors from QLD.

Released 17 January 2015, New EP Demasquerade

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