Allston has bred a now hefty lineup of musicians, but none quite elephant sized. The rat city’s homegrown The Relevant Elephants, with a sound that’s slightly oversized for their cheerful, ska-inspired, white-knuckled rock, are fawning after that place.

But don’t start skanking just yet—the jumpy guitar riffs are merely background noise when juxtaposed with Zack Hankin’s nasal full-throttle belting. With mature lyrics for quite a juvenile sound, The Relevant Elephants may have just barely missed the mark in making themselves relevant. Their debut EP, self-titled and indulgent, is an ambitious first effort.

The Relevant Elephants kicks off with “A Yes Or A No,” the jubilant anthem to every young single man’s romantic struggle. Glorifying the “friend zone,” the song makes use of every moment, nary a silent space between notes to be found—perhaps to highlight the chaos that is the unnamed subject’s life: “When I’m at a better time in my life / I will give you a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’.” But the track is all over the place style-wise; it keeps time with its syncopated bounciness and twangy bass—that is, until about halfway through the song, when “A Yes Or A No” derails into a garage rock guitar solo that tastes sour when paired with the rest.

The remainder of The Relevant Elephants attempts to uphold the established meeting place between reggae and rock, losing footholds in the disparate ambitions of the individual tracks. “Allston and Brighton are for Drinkin and Fightin” tries to establish itself as the theme song for The Relevant Elephants’ target audience—Allston locals who unrelentingly support the music scene. But it comes off as cheesy, making reference to the rampant house parties and painting the neighborhood as the boozy, sleazy underbelly of Boston. We get it—you go to house parties in Allston, too. How hip.

The songs on The Relevant Elephants, though, are catchy with their simple hooks and relatable lyrics. Hankin sings, “Does everyone know what they’re doing except me?” on “Up In The Air,” a moment of shakiness on a self-confident EP. It holds up better as a whole than as four individual tracks. As with any debut EP, there’s room to grow—and we won’t forget these elephants.

Album Review: The Relevant Elephants – The Relevant Elephants EP
  • Ska-inspired rhythm very danceable
  • Catchy, simple songs
  • Motifs come off as cheesy
  • Confusion of style
  • Unoriginal lyrical content
6.8Almost Irrelevant

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