Live Review from CD 5 Launch Party B:
3. He is Definitely Coming
Eli started strong with a scene-setting number, throbbing guitars creating the perfect backing for the second best voice of the evening (behind Reorientate). Unfortunately a technical blunder obliterated my next two paragraphs of notes, but Eli played some stirring stuff, with the delivery only marred by over-long monologues between songs.
— Paul Mottram
Live review from Underground Kubrick:
1. Creep (Radiohead cover)
4. He is Definitely Coming
The last time these guys played the Underground, they were good but still sounding way too much like they were trying to sound like Radiohead. This seems to have been solved by now because they seemed to be much further along towards figuring out their own approach, which is more like the sinister feel of Alice in Chains circa 1993-6. The way the rhythm and lead guitar act as counterpoints allows the songs to have a strange frantic calm, and you can feel this oxymoron. The eeriness of their sound in the electric form was replaced by a pervasive uneasiness, which works just as well. This is draped in singer Sun Yu’s near-drone style of singing. He, like Stuart, has obliqueness to his voice, but because his tone is much deeper and his style of singing much stronger (it’s almost like Scott Weiland’s softer baritone), it takes less time to like his voice. They still do Creep though, and it’s still good because they make it their own by underscoring the flailing frustration in the song (as opposed to the original which masks it). They need to work on adding more substance to the guitars, though, because the songs sometimes get a bit lost in their depth during the bridges.
The atmospherics continued with Deep which allowed guitarist Miu Tham to show off her more fine-tuned soloing skills. She’s developed a positive knack of really probing the areas of sonic weirdness the songs reach without overplaying, especially with higher notes, which makes the songs more effective than before. This is not a band that shies away from using non-harmonic notes and they used them best in Isolation, though the song suffered a bit from the lack of percussion that would’ve really driven its pace changes home. The melancholy was heaviest in Fog with its gritty, muddy feel; and yet, it still had a bit of resigned happiness because of the lyrics. They chose to change it up a little at the end with the plaintive Lost and its much more simple approach to the broody sound. The song ended softly, and in keeping with the tendencies of that night, the sounds faded into the books as it slowly sun in that the show had ended.
Live review from Underground 96:
3. He Is Definitely Coming
5. Creep (Radiohead cover)
Once upon a time there was a show on the Friday before the Hong Kong Sevens. As you can probably already tell, the draining effect it had on all other gatherings was considerable. Unfortunately, one of those gatherings was this show, and attendance certainly seemed to have suffered towards the beginning of the show (luckily, the numbers did pick up soon, so I won’t bitch too much about this). It was to a burgeoning crowd that Eli began their set. They appeared to be drenched in somewhat cynical boredom – a critical element of 90s rock – with their staid demeanour and unadorned clothing. Having a kind of revisionist take on grunge, they brought some cleverly constructed songs, along with largely simple yet effective instrumentation. Singer Sun has a kind of buzzy, droning voice that really holds their semi-melodic sound together. Plus, to hear a voice like his from someone with his lean frame is always an entertaining paradox.
Isolation was a moody, atmospheric song which had elements of early Radiohead, followed by the deceptive calm of Deep, which, as the song went along, became increasingly insolent and frenetic with the vocals devolving into a guttural scream. The two notes repeated rapidly throughout most of Gone threw it into spacey, weird-out territory, with an interesting contrast offered by the relatively upbeat drums. An interesting feature of their songs was how nonchalant their endings were – you barely realised when they’d stopped! Finally (and very inevitably) the set closer was the classic Creep. This was the only song I felt could have used some more embellishment; however, the choice of abandoning Thom Yorke’s falsetto for a scream was a commendable one, and the set was ended with a pronounced guitar flourish.