I had a chance to catch Elias when they were on tour with Finger Eleven and The Envy last year. It seemed like an odd choice to add to that lineup, because Elias stood out from the pack – sounding more earthy and pop than the harder sounds of the other two bands. With their new album Fossils, it’s become even more clear that hard rock is the furthest thing on the band’s mind. The new album is an alternative rock album that’s more in the vein of Coldplay, Radiohead and Train than the hard rock sounds of their past concert mates or even their own past.
While not as elaborate and over-produced as Train’s last album, Fossils is a step in the right direction for this Vancouver outfit and takes them another step up the ladder. With a unique mix of dark, moody vocals, original guitar riffs, subtle keyboards and loud pounding beats, Elias could be the west coast answer to Arcade Fire. One listen to Catapults and you’ll hear what I mean. The track suggests a band that’s moving forward with its own momentum and maturity.
Other standouts include the first single Hands and Knees, another Arcade Fire influenced track Enough, the sleeper track Lake Louise and the title tune, Fossils, which starts with a sweet and sexy piano riff.
Elias has the ability and sound that could make them Canada’s answer to Coldplay or Train. There’s enough texture in the sound that the comparisons are justified, but Elias lacks the grand choruses and over-the-top production to let the comparisons continue beyond a similarity in overall sound. Instead we’re left with an album that shares some of its style with some of the best bands in the world, but seems to come up short in the end. Once Elias figures out that it has the chops to make an album that could rival Coldplay, we’ll be in for a treat. Until then, Fossils is still a strong effort with some good songs.