Track Review: Above // El Libero

Slowed down and stripped back, the most recent of offering from already well-acclaimed ‘alternative’ band El Libero is a well-paced and well-produced track exploring some of the more literary avenues of contemporary indie music.

To leave it at ‘simple’ might not be giving ‘Above’ the credit it deserves. The stress on metre, on rhyme, on parallelisms and all the other stuff one can pick up in an English Lit poetry module ensures that the track does, at the very least, capture one’s wholehearted attention for all fiveminutes-thirty-one (which in itself is quite a feat)… but you don’t feel overwhelmed by it. Not at all. It’s a careful sort of competence that makes this song run so smoothly, and by not convoluting what the song’s actually about – unfailing (but not necessarily romantic) love – with florid language and clever technicalities, the band have, again, turned around a tidy little song that feels all pretty fluent.

The more I listen to it, the more I tend to agree with the Beatles comparison. There doesn’t appear to be anything overdone or overstated about what the song’s trying to be; it’s a refreshing change to listen to a track built around uncomplicated, modest lyrics and the steady plod of a few instrumental guidances. Despite the lack of avant-gardisms, there is something still quite sophisticated about the whole act – something somehow a bit more grown up than rival contemporaries of this ilk (if El Libero can be said to even have its own ilk yet). ‘Above’ is the kind of song that both you and your mother will able to listen to, but in a cool, Vanessa Paradis kind-ofway, rather than back-to-back Celine Dion (sorry, Mum). It’s not a difficult one to get your head around and it doesn’t claw onto relevance by having to be garish and showy, either.

On the whole, it’s pretty different to what we heard in April with ‘Butterfly’, but as the band begins to find its identity with another unbroken successful gesture, there’s something about the EP that puts El Libero in good stead to become a name recognised for its careful and considered proficiency.

Above is due for release on June 15th.

Words by James Reynolds


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