The Elevator Division – Whatever Makes You Happy EP

The Elevator Division
Whatever Makes You Happy EP

Of all the reviews we’ve posted, I think the review of The Elevator Division’s first album may have sparked the most feedback. No one was particularly offended or enthused about the review. It’s just that the band had no web presence. None. Not even an e-mail address to link to. And so web searches turned up our little review, and people asked how to find out about this band they’ve been hearing about. Now, I’m happy to say, The Elevator Division have a pretty cool website and an e-mail address for their label, and here’s a new EP to make things even better.
First off, I have to say that this EP is of strong enough quality to warrant placing on repeat for much of the day. I have yet to tire of any one of these songs. Certainly falling into what would be classified as emo, The Elevator Division perform sparkling, shimmering, yet intense rock, mixing in melodic guitars, powerful rhythms, and stellar vocals that soar along with the music. Sounds familiar, you say, and yes, it’s a tried and true formula. But when a band does it this well, they deserve to be noticed.
First off, I’ll talk about the band’s best track, the amazing seven-minute “Blood Brothers.” Singer James Hoskins does his best Rocky Votolato impression, and the song definitely sounds like old Waxwing. But the shimmering guitars and Hoskins’ high-pitched vocals, at times just drawing out “oooos” to sound instrumental, make this a stellar track. The lyrics tell a more intense tale of war and bloodshed: “They taught us how to kill with pride / and who to hate and why / and we believed in every word they said / until we watched each other die.” Is this a preview of war following September 11? It’s possible, as the song starts with “Our homes were touched with terror that day / by an unseen enemy / when it’s your town that’s crumbling down / you feel it differently.” The music matches the lyrics, providing a moving accompaniment for a fantastic song.
The other tracks are good, in different ways. The opener, “Tempo of Three,” has up-tempo rhythm and fantastic guitar work, melodic yet tight and driving, giving the song a wonderful 3 p.m. summer afternoon feel. “Big Ideas” allows the guitars to take center-stage, more intense and exploratory, as the vocals are mixed into the music a bit more. The title track rocks harder, more intense and driving yet with those fantastic vocals, in a sound that reminds me of the best of Cross My Heart. Finally, the six-minute “Sound Decision” closes this lengthy EP with another mid-western emo track, mid-tempo yet powerful and driven by amazing guitarwork.
A limited edition version of this EP is available packaged in cardboard. Thick cardboard too. That’s very cool. What’s better is the music here. I will never get over my emo tendencies, and bands like this are the reason why. In fact, this is the reason you started liking emo too. This EP is fantastic, and while it doesn’t tread much new ground in the genre, the band covers that ground like a master.