It didn't take very long for punk to demonstrate that it could be relevant to power pop; in the late '70s, bands like the Ramones, 999, the Dickies, Generation X, and the Buzzcocks made it perfectly clear that punk's raw energy could easily be combined with power pop's melodic, infectious hooks. And in the 1990s, no alternative rock combo embraced the punk-pop aesthetic with more enthusiasm than Elastica -- like the best punk-pop trailblazers of the 1970s and 1980s, Elastica manages to sneer and laugh at the same time. One of the 1990s best Elastica bootlegs, Are Friends Electric? has no problem capturing the Brits' vitality. This mostly live CD, which boasts generally excellent sound quality, points to the fact that while Elastica gems like "Connection," "Car Song," "Vaseline," and the hit "Stutter" aren't innovative, they do have a certain freshness. Are Friends Electric? doesn't focus on one concert exclusively; it was recorded from March-July 1995 in various British cities, and Elastica is as exciting in London as it is in Bristol. The disc also contains four enjoyable studio outtakes that were recorded in Manchester on March 28, 1995: "Rockunroll," "Gloria," "Car Song," and "2:1." Were Are Friends Electric? an official live album, it would have been edited more judiciously -- many of the songs are heard twice, which is more than the casual Elastica fan needs. But then, this collection wasn't assembled with casual listeners in mind. Like other Elastica bootlegs, Are Friends Electric? caters to collectors and seasoned fans, who will find this CD to be punk-pop heaven.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson