Elle Milano - Acres Of Dead Space Cadets

Sel Bulut 26/03/2008

Rating: 4/5

'Acres Of Dead Space Cadets' is one of 'those' albums. It's the sort that's just really fucking good, the sort that you know is really fucking good on just one listen. It's also one of those albums that most likely won't reach the audience it deserves to.

It's odd that Elle Milano aren't bigger than they are. Each song on the album comes in at around or just under the three minute mark. They follow an established indie rock structure and are catchy enough to stick in your head almost immediately after ending, whilst they're each neatly produced to be easily listenable but raw enough to be interesting (they produced it themselves, in a studio they built themselves in Kent, giving it an added layer of personality). The album ends at around thirty minutes, making it perfect for a quick listen on your walks to town.

But there are the little thingsā€¦the touches that separate them from the rest of the crop. The touches that hamper their fame. The touches that will put off the sort of people that think they're indie for listening to The Enemy. The touches that would offend your mother if through unlikely circumstance she finds herself listening to this record - be it the cynical lyrics and Adam Crisp's somewhat confrontational delivery of them, the epic strings on lead single Meanwhile In Hollywood, the underlying darkness of the seemingly fun I Know It's Good But I'm Playing It Down or the end-is-nigh intro to Curiosity Killed The Popstar.

For a debut album it's startlingly confident, and almost completely lacking in filler (with the exception of the The Nightclub Is Over, although the strangely dooming production still makes it worthy of merit). And unlike many debut albums, it's arranged so that it doesn't waste its best songs at the beginning and never drops pace, with highlights coming from the Young Knives-esque Wonderfully Wonderful (All The Time) and inexplicably-optimistic-sounding-despite-its-title This Is How It Ends, the final two tracks of the album.

Though the omission of tracks Believe Your Own Hype, Always and Swearing's For Art Students from their earlier EP may seem like an odd move based on the strength of those releases, it becomes evident after a few listens that with 'Acres Of Dead Space Cadets' Elle Milano have separated themselves from the semi-ironic art rock of their earlier work. By dropping these satirical jibes in favour of tracks that display much more intellect in their lyrics, the album becomes much more mature and developed. It's still just as witty, but with a degree of honesty that the earlier releases lacked, no longer teetering on the edge of pretentiousness.

Although they probably won't reach the audience they rightly deserve any time soon, you never know what will happen in the future. Perhaps 'Acres Of Dead Space Cadets' will be dug up in thirty years time when the hippest new band cites late 00s indie rock as their biggest influence, and Elle Milano will reach the cult status that a post-punk act like The Pop Group hold nowadays. Or perhaps they'll just slip under the radar despite critical acclaim. Who knows?