Edelweiss - Pre-Columbians EP
Record Label: Another Reybee
Release Date: September13, 2011
Wow, are we really nine months behind already? Nine months ago I was 20 years old with barely a foot in the door of this frustrating journalism malarkey. Fast-forward to the present day and, well, not much has changed or progressed at all, apart from another clock on the age tab of course. Still no heavily demanding office job to get up disastrously early for; still no comfortable revenue routine that will allow me to finally leave my parents’ house ; and most importantly still a promising, yet possibly naive, realisation that I have more than enough time to achieve it all in. Proof, then, that as young adults fresh out of college or university (depending on your land of residency), we really do place too much pressure on ourselves to succeed far too quickly. For goodness sake, just let us rejoice with our fellow comrades and sink some beers over the game before any of us think twice about establishing a career in Physics! (or whatever your ideal profession may or may not be). Yeah, that’s right! I’m takin’ one for the team! Who’s with me!?
... "Uh-hum” ...
Well folks, allow me to just stifle that entire passage of argument as I introduce you to Pennsylvanian indie-pop noodlers, Edelweiss: a four-piece outfit who, in just a little under a year, have found themselves performing in world famous establishments such as the Knitting Factory in NYC, have recorded their debut release with Jeremy Sklarsky (whose past engineering roster has included big names such as Teenage Fanclub and The Morning Benders) and have already made quite the impression on multiple numbers of indie kids across the States and more. And now for the more uncomfortable pill to swallow: their combined average age was just 16 when they released this thing all those nine months ago.
One, however, could quite easily be mistaken by the timing of Edelweiss’s arrival on the map as the majority of content on offer here sounds more in check with the alt-pop scenes that roamed the UK circa 2007, and therefore of a time perhaps a little too familiar to many listeners (you remember, when NME’s recommendations were spearheaded by whatever music Skins was championing on E4 every Thursday night*). Keeping in subject for the time being, then, it’s not difficult to capture the essence of bands such as Foals all over the framework of tracks like ‘(No)’ and ‘Fiasco’, the latter in particular. Shimmering, reverb-laden guitar lines skid and bounce around an array of calculated, complimentary vocal hollers, a formula which is able to hit home with ease when your production team has an abundance of recent examples (*cough*, Antidotes) at hand to help conjure up a near-equivalent mix from. But still, I’ll stop myself there because it should quite rightfully be pointed out that Edelweiss do showcase an ability to stand on some ground of their own with Pre-Columbians. Second song ‘A Sound from Pennsylvania’ is certainly the most noticeable attempt at a pursuit for autonomy. The subtraction of vocals not only makes their music more difficult to affiliate with other bands, it also allows the native talent of the group – which, after occupying yourself with this three-and-a-half-minute gem of a jam, you’ll likely agree is in their naturally more abstract methods of instrumentation - to take centre stage. Edelweiss proves they have a collective imagination arguably worth further exploration, it’s just unfortunate that the inevitable success they’re likely to garner from their more accessible material may wind up one day overshadowing this adventurous spirit. Only time, however, will provide the answer.
For many newcomers to the band it may be easy to dismiss Edelweiss’s early success as the result of misguided hype, subject mostly to the fault of idiot-critics like myself who can’t resist throwing out the cliché “oh-my-god-they-are-so-young-you-just-have-to-listen!” card. However, I continue to insist that those who opt to ignore them without giving Pre-Columbians at least a short window of opportunity to leave a mark would be foolish. I say this with pure tenacity, too, because these five tracks are indeed extremely impressive for any group of musicians, never mind what age they may be.
Still, I do envy the little bastards.
*Skins, for anybody based outside of the UK over the last half-a-decade, was/is a recurring drama series about the chaotic, animated and dysfunctional lifestyles of teenagers living in Bristol. Each episode is focused on a different character within the context of the script, and attempts to capture the fluctuating moods and emotions of their continuously adventurous world in the most realistic tense possible. It also offers viewers perhaps the closest representation of everything teen-hood isn’t like.