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Elastica

Elastica were a British rock band formed in London in 1992. The band were influenced by punk rock, post-punk and new wave music. They are best known for their 1995 album Elastica, which produced singles that charted in the United Kingdom and the United States, including their highest-charting US Hot 100 hit "Connection". They split amicably in 2001, roughly a year after releasing their second LP.

History

In mid-1992, ex-Suede band members Justine Frischmann and Justin Welch decided to form a group. By the autumn of that year, bassist Annie Holland and guitarist Donna Matthews were added. After initially gigging under names such as "Onk", the band settled on the name "Elastica" in October 1992. Elastica released their first single, "Stutter", in October 1993, which benefited from the promotional efforts of BBC Radio 1 DJ and Deceptive Records label boss Steve Lamacq, who had discovered the band earlier in the year. In 1994, Elastica released two UK Top 20 singles ("Line Up" and "Connection") and performed on numerous radio shows. In addition, Frischmann's relationship with Blur frontman Damon Albarn made tabloid headlines.

Elastica's first LP, Elastica, was released in March 1995, and entered the UK Albums Chart at No. 1; it became the fastest-selling debut album since Oasis' Definitely Maybe. This record was held for over ten years, until it was surpassed by the Arctic Monkeys' debut Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not in 2006. The album was preceded by their fourth single "Waking Up" which went to No. 13 on the UK Singles Chart, their highest placing therein.

The band became subject to controversy when several bands sued them for plagiarism. Specifically, the art punk band Wire (whom Elastica counted as one of their main influences) claimed that many of the band's melodies were taken from Wire compositions, as well as by the Stranglers. Notably, Wire's "I Am the Fly" has a chorus similar to Elastica's "Line Up" and the intro synthesizer part in Elastica's "Connection" (later also repeated on guitar) is lifted from the guitar riff in Wire's "Three Girl Rhumba" and transposed a semitone, and the Stranglers also passed comment that Elastica's "Waking Up" bore a marked resemblance to their song "No More Heroes". The disputes were resolved by out-of-court settlements.

The mid-90s witnessed another "British Invasion" in America. And while there were many Britpop acts who boasted of huge success at home, few made it across the Atlantic with the exception of Elastica and Radiohead, whose simultaneously released 1995 albums Elastica and The Bends had sold just under 400,000 copies in the US by Summer 1996. "Stutter" and "Connection" received airplay on modern rock radio and also both charted on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at nos 67 and 53 respectively; as did their debut album (which was later certified gold). After performing at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival, the band joined the Lollapalooza tour continuing an almost solid year of constant gigs where they toured North America four times. Citing exhaustion, Annie Holland quit the band in early August 1995 and was replaced for the remainder of the tour by session bassist Abby Travis. Holland was not permanently replaced until the arrival of Sheila Chipperfield in the spring of 1996. Around this time, keyboardist David Bush (ex-the Fall) was added to the line-up.

After playing more shows and demoing new material in the first half of 1996, Elastica entered the studio in the later part of the year to begin work on their second album. By late 1998 Matthews had left the band. She was replaced by guitarist Paul Jones (of the band Linoleum) and keyboardist Sharon Mew. Around this time, Chipperfield was replaced by the returning Annie Holland.

As a tribute to the "lost years" of the band, a self-titled six-track EP appeared in August 1999, collecting a variety of recordings from a multitude of aborted sessions. This EP marked the first new material from the band in over four years. After re-recording most of these songs in mid-1999, along with new compositions, the band played their first set of shows in years. Their second proper album, The Menace, was released in April 2000. After the release of the farewell single "The Bitch Don't Work" in 2001, the band announced their amicable break-up.

After the break-up

In 2005, Frischmann emigrated to Boulder, Colorado, and studied art at Naropa University. She had begun working as an artist by 2008, and later moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. Matthews is a pastor in Totnes, and according to a recent BBC 6 show has been linked romantically to Lawrence Chandler of Bowery Electric. Holland lives in Brighton. Welch and Mew are married, and live in Hastings. Welch played drums for Lush's 2015-16 reunion shows. Jones is the A&R man at Rough Trade joining after managing his Slogan label, which released the Fall's Fall Heads Roll. He signed the group Warpaint.

On 21 January 2017, the band's official Facebook page posted photos featuring three-quarters of the original line-up - Matthews, Holland and Welch - during a visit to Abbey Road Studios in London. They were working on a remaster of their debut Elastica with Mastering engineer Sean McGee. Frischmann also worked on the remaster. The record was reissued in April on Record Store Day.

Members

Past members
  • Justine Frischmann – vocals and guitar (1992–2001)
  • Justin Welch – drums (1992–2001)
  • Donna Matthews – guitar and vocals (1992–1998)
  • Annie Holland – bass (1992–1995, 1999–2001)
  • David Bush – keyboards (1996–2001)
  • Sheila Chipperfield – bass (1996–1998)
  • Paul Jones – guitar (1998–2001)
  • Sharon Mew – keyboards and vocals (1999–2001)

    Guest/Touring musicians
  • Abby Travis – bass (touring, 1995–1996)
  • Damon Albarn – keyboards (1995, 1999; credited under the anagrammatical pseudonyms "Dan Abnormal" on Elastica and as "Norman Balda" on The Menace)
  • Antony Genn – keyboards (1995–1996; touring)

    Timeline

    Discography



    Studio albums

    Compilations/EPs

  • Elastica 6 Track EP (23 August 1999)
  • The Radio One Sessions (29 October 2001)

    Singles



    :1.Did not chart until 1995.