"Grow" by The EllipsisReview
Last week, I had every intention of writing a review in this magazine of the gig I was intending to attend at the Zephyr Lounge by The Ellipsis, supported by Free Galaxy, and CANDID. I imagine most of you know what happened & why that review never was written. The bands found out over social media: "gutted doesn't even cut it" was the headliners' response: a commendable restraint on their part as other things might have been said.
In no way can such a disappointment be cancelled out, but at least today I can write an Ellipsis review since their new single "Grow" is out today.
What of it then? Well no-one unacquainted with the band will be surprised by the elements which shape it: not just excellent musicianship (band members are in huge demand by other artists to work with them) but even more importantly, tasteful musicianship. None of the band plays to show off, they subordinate their skills to the needs of the song & the collective. In fact I was talking to their manager Paul only last week about how their extra curricular playing is informing Ellipsis music: far from distracting them, playing solo & with others is simply adding to the palette at the group's disposal. In fact as you may recall of my review of singer Henry's recent solo gig (as "Henery"), his voice is developing more & more distinction & confidence in what he can do with it, and I detect elements in "Grow" I hadn't previously heard. The title is "Grow" and that's something The Ellipsis continue to do. Not all bands can or do.
Like many of their best songs, the single has several contrasting sections which add it its quality: choppy nervy bits slide into smoother soulful passages and then groove onwards. Little licks jump into the ear, massed vocals join Henry, all the instruments contribute interesting and imaginative moments which never outstay their welcome. Solos take place behind the singing. This is a band with a great attitude to Service of the Song.
It is clearly really radio friendly & made up of exactly what should be a popular success (if anything, somewhat more sophisticated & subtle than many hits). Let's hope it does as well as it deserves to.
As I said, it is something positive to be able to post about The Ellipsis at this time, though of course their plan originally was to have a great gig AND release the single. And why ever not? I hope all "Hot Music Live" readers will support those artists hit by the closure of The Assembly/Zephyr Lounge (and of course The Arches which also shut their doors this week alas): some, like Joe Dolman who has moved the concert he was so looking forwards to to Leamington Parish Church on December 6th, others are still working on such moves or simply have lost the showcases for their talents. No doubt too there is space on these pages for a discussion on the economics of venues & other associated issues such as the damage done to the Assembly after closure.
In the meantime, you can catch The Ellipsis at Temperance on 26th July