Woo Woo! It’s been 1 month since After Elmer released their pop-punk baby ‘Look Alive’ into the great wide world! It’s also been 2 weeks since the Rotterdam boys had a chat to Moody Music and shared all the behind the scenes stories from the songs. In this week’s blog post we revisit and review After Elmer’s full debut EP.
For Fans Of: Green Day, Blink 182, All Time Low, Knuckle Puck, Trophy Eyes, Sly Withers, Ceres, Snark
For those of you who don’t know, After Elmer are a 4 piece band from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, who bring that exotic Dutch pop-punk sound in their latest and debut EP ‘Look Alive’, yes there is hint of an accent, and who wouldn’t love that!
This EP features 4 songs, 1 of which is an acoustic track which is a nice surprise and cerates diversity within the EP. Let’s go track by track and of course chuck in a few snippets from our interview the boys.
‘Look Alive’ is the released single and also the name of EP. This song is definitely the largest song in terms of presence and personality out of all the tracks listed. It’s perceive as the “fun song” because of the lyrics and that perfect pop-punk balance of bouncy guitars and drums.
The best lyrics from the single ‘Look Alive’ have to be, “All my friends are getting married, or getting f*cked up at the bar, no in between, Oh Wait That’s me”. That extra ‘Oh Wait that’s me’ comes across as kind of comedic and funny in the way it’s sung in the song.
The music video is what initially drew me into After Elmer, and I feel as though the video clip truly matches the personality the band, that they are a quirky band that love to have a laugh, and who don’t take life too seriously. The band members are dressed up as different characters Pieter as a ‘nerd’, Jasper as a ‘gym junkie’, Thomas as a ‘biker’ and lead singer Jaap as ‘the normal guy’. The characters in the music video are very dramatized which makes it so funny and adorable as a band (I’m pretty sure that four grown-ass men definitely want to hear that their band and music video is adorable haha). Like C’mon Pieter sword fighting in an office interview, it’s so quirky and makes you laugh! Pieter even said that “I think I came up with my own character, I don’t know why I think that it comes easily to me to play a geek haha I have a sword at home!”.
The concept behind the song is pretty much an existential crisis of What The F*ck Do I Do With My Life Right Now aha. Guitarist Jasper said that Look Alive was about when “you get to that point in your when you’re done with study and you have to go to work, it’s hard to get stuck into that work, of like I have to work for the rest of my life now”. It’s a very relatable song, I feel like at one point or another everyone has felt stuck or lost in life.
Okay I was going to go in track order, but screw it cause I’m actually SO FREAKING excited to talk about ‘Talk’! It is the acoustic song on the EP, and it’s full of purity delivered in a stripped back, raw, and beautiful way. Being dubbed as the ‘acoustic’ song on the EP, it is actually a really nice touch to have. It shows the variety that After Elmer can produce, and even though it’s not loud pop-punk it’s still has that pop-punk tone and attitude of being a deep and meaningful song with heavy emotional lyrics. Instantly this song made me think of All Time Low’s performance of ‘Jasey Rae’ acoustic on MTV Unplugged, and maybe a little bit of ‘Coffee Shop Soundtrack’ acoustic from that same MTV session, ‘Talk’ embodies that strong presence of acoustic guitar with heart wrenching vocals.
This song has a really great message behind it. Jaap said that ‘Talk’ is about when “sometimes you just want to share, and you just want the other to say ‘Yeah, I know it sucks, but maybe you need to take a step back and a few days later you can think about a solution’”, instead of having advice and suggestions thrown at you. I think Thomas said it most perfectly that “ ‘Talk’ is about the importance of really listening to someone with problems”, that talking and more importantly just listening to each other is something that needs to be done more these days, and the After Elmer boys are definitely spreading the message around with this song. The chorus is also really catchy as well, so, that’s always a bonus!
Secrets and Hatchet, both of these songs were more themed on “love that’s being unanswered, and wanting to fight for someone”, is how Jaap put it. Secrets is a song with layers, you can hear the instruments clearly in different sections of the song, there’s the build up of guitars over the vocals and drums in the verses leading into the chorus. I really like the use of some minimal elements of instruments to draw out specific parts in the songs, particularly when there’s little drops in the song to really emphasise the vocals, it almost leaves mini cliff hangers in the song.
There’s a rollercoaster of elements in Secrets much like a relationship, which is really interesting to have that come through a song. Secrets sounds like it would be in the same category as Snark’s ‘Whatever, Nevermind’, or Ceres’ ‘Kiss Me Crying’ and ‘Dumb Smile’, in terms of musical layers including that great use of drops and cliff-hangers in the song which creates depth.
Okay, last song on the EP and last song for us to review is ‘Hatchet’. I would say that this song is the most heaviest and loudest track on the EP, just because of that high tight guitar work, and those booming drums. No wonder why After Elmer’s drummer Thomas is most excited to play Hatchet compared to the other songs on the EP, the drums are there, and you can clearly hear them. This track has the loudest presence and resembles the likes of Sly Withers’ ‘Lately’ or even maybe ‘Small Talk’ by The Dead Love. There is Oomph! and kick in the song Hatchet, and that is what I’m trying to say. The little intro and outro to this song is really nice as well, and gentle before all hell breaks loose, and we get the full impact of After Elmer’s heavy side from the EP.
If you listen to the song on repeat (as I do when writing reviews, what? I’m just trying to get your Spotify numbers up and earn bands that extra two cents ahah), the intro and outro actually line up really nicely and it sounds like you are listening to 1 long song, it fades in/out really well haha.
I want to know what you guys think about After Elmer’s EP. Do you love it? Hate it? Have you got it framed in your bedroom? Leave a comment and while you’re at it…
CHECK OUT our full international zoom interview with Jaap, Pieter, Jasper and Thomas from After Elmer, who chatted about the band, the new EP, and the making of the music video for ‘Look Alive’ which can be FOUND RIGHT HERE or click on the image below.
After Elmer are
Jaap (Vocals / Bass)
Pieter (Guitar/ Backing Vocals)
Look Alive EP Tracklist:
1. Look Alive
After Elmer’s Social Media
AE's Facebook | AE's Instagram | Link to 'Look Alive' Ep Spotify
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