When I first saw Adam & Elvis live around 2012, they were almost aggressively traditional. Four lads, guitars, singing about Gin and Tonics. Listening to ‘Dr Badtouch’, the first single from their soon to be released second album Pub Grub, you can hear the stunning evolution from their Britpop beginnings. No longer defined by the guitar sound, and its inevitable limitations, the band is becoming what they always set out to be: crafters of the perfect pop song.
Adam & Elvis were formed in Reading in 2011, and despite the misleading name nobody in the band is called Adam or Elvis. The name started as humorous play on the rock and roll cliché that bands want to be bigger than Adam and Eve, well this band want to be bigger than Adam and Elvis. The band was formed by two brothers, Patrick and Tom Malone, and was originally a four piece. Since then they’ve gone through a Spinal Tap-like revolving door of members but over the last year the line-up seems to have settled into permanency. The rest of the band consist of Dan Robertshaw on lead guitar, Steve Wraight on keyboards, Martha Roper on backing vocals and the virtuoso Roddy Bailey on drums.
But Adam & Elvis are defined by the Malone brothers and it is definitely their band. They can certainly be warring brothers, anybody who has spent longer than seven minutes in their company has probably witnessed a gloriously unnecessary argument. They were once thrown out of an Indian restaurant for having a shouting match about which Pulp album is the greatest. Patrick and Tom write the songs and they are driven by an intense desire to create moving, intelligent but incongruous pop songs. To them, the perfect pop song is not something asinine like ‘Boys and Girls’, or even the genuine sublime of ‘Just Like Heaven.’ Instead, it’s something that fuses Pixies’ ‘Alec Eifel’ and Leonard Cohen’s ‘True Love Leaves No Traces.’ They are always searching for that melody, that special sequence of chords which creates something that never seems leave to your brain; that rattles around in there forever.
There were glimpses of this on their excellent 2017 self-released debut album Through Snow and Small Talk. The fluorescent, twirling synths of ‘Wasting Away’ or the subtle, hypnotic, repetition of ‘The Artiste’ suggested a band uninterested in existing in the finer margins of ‘difficult’ indie. Adam & Elvis will never be ‘massive’; their version of pop is so far removed from the cultural genocide of Radio 1 it may as well be beamed from another planet. But as they head towards releasing their second record, the pieces are starting to fall firmly in place. Their songs of drinking, desperation, romance and more drinking sound more and more fully realised. With unconventionally killer hooks and lyrics of brilliant, caustic wit, Adam & Elvis are undoubtedly one of the most thought-provoking bands around.
To celebrate the release of their second album ‘Pub Grub’ on November 16th, the band are playing a show that night at The George Tavern, London with Meatraffle. Details can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/events/453595458561431/