Elway – Leavetaking

  • Cole Faulkner posted
  • Reviews


Leavetaking - Red Scare Industries

With so many great examples of melodic punk rock dominating today’s scene it’s a wonder that Colorado’s Elway made such a splash with their debut full length, Delusions, a couple years back.   Critics praised the trio’s masterful command of the genre and welcomed their breadth of influences, spanning from Bad Religion to The Lawrence Arms to The Flatliners and a host of other legacy acts.  Accordingly, reviews were written from perspectives of flattering comparisons rather than declarations of originality.

In retrospect though, what made the band so appealing was not a drive to innovate that often blinds critics, but an admiration for Elway’s adept knack for making old song structures new again.  This same sense of revitalization shapes the band’s follow-up offering, Leavetaking, as more of the same without actually being, well, more of the same.  As such, Tim Browne reprises his role of what you might expect from the test tube spawn of Chris McCaughan and Brendan Kelly (Lawrence Arms) if mothered by Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio).  Infusing clean melodies with the sting of a coarse edge, each track achieves an addictive quality that doubly demands immediately singing along with and careful lyrical dissection soon thereafter.

The defining connection binding lyrics with music kicks off with “The Great Divorce” and tests attentive listeners from there on out.  “She’s dying to know, was it the faith that failed her, does Jesus Christ chomp at his bit to be her only captor,” questions Browne in the defeatist narration shaping the quiet solicitous attitude of the woman in question.  Moments later every ounce of restraint comes crushing down in melodic frenzy mirroring her dissolving spirit and mental state.  Elway understands the psyche of each character and communicates accordingly. 

Meanwhile, the Lawrence Arms parallels abound in the gang choruses of “Prophetstown” and melodic “woahs” of “Someday, Sea Wolf” to the point where the songs take on a life of their own.  “Christopher” takes a deep breath before plunging into some of the album’s darkest corners, following up with theAlkaline Trio-esque “Banned From Gun World.”  As if that wasn’t enough, Browne treats listeners to his touching acoustic performance in “Montreal” which rounds Leavetaking out well beyond expectations.

At worst Elway sounds familiar, but as Leavetaking quickly reminds us there’s nothing wrong with something sounding exactly the way you like it.  It’s like criticizing a chef for following a recipe too well – that would simply never happen.  So fans of melodic punk rock, take comfort in the auditory comfort food that is Leavetaking, your sonic pallet will not be disappointed.