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The Graham Album Review #2179

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The Elovaters: Endless Summer

(Ineffable Records Records, as broadcast on WVIA-FM 12/20/2023)

We feature a lot of rather serious music on this album review series, with literate, poetic singer-songwriters, or instrumental music with a high degree of complexity or originality, electric and acoustic. But once in a while, it’s nice to have a little party music – danceable material that makes makes you feel good, and takes a little time from pondering the state of the world, or waxing philosophical. And that’s what we have for you this time, the latest album from the Boston area reggae influenced group the Elovators. It’s their fourth studio release and it’s called Endless Summer a title which can provide a hint about the direction of the music.

The Elovaters were formed in Marshfield, Massachusetts, in 2014 originally as a seven piece reggae band called The Cornerstone. They took their old band name and used it as the title of their first full-lengh album in 2017, which we featured at the time in this album review series. Since then, they have been touring extensively, and collaborated with various guest artists on their other recordings. The new album is largely self-contained with a six-piece configuration of the band, with lead vocalist, guitar player and principal songwriter Jackson Wetherbee, along with Johnny “Blaze” Alves on guitar, Greg Nectow on keyboards, Matt Link on bass, Nicholas Asta on drums and Derrick Cabral on percussion. One track features a guest appearance by a hip-hop duo called Little Stranger. The horns that were prominent on their earlier albums are notably absent this time around. The group went to Texas to record much of the album, with the reminder done in their home territory of Boston.

Like their previous releases, the Elovaters’ music on Endless Summer is lighthearted, danceable and generally melodic, with Weatherbee having a vocal style that’s reminiscent of Bob Marley, with the light tropical quality of Jack Johnson. There are no sad songs on the album, with lyrics that run from appreciating one’s significant other to going out to have a good time.

Opening the 14-song album is the title track Endless Summer which is what you might get if the Beach Boys, who also had an album called Endless Summer, did reggae. The lyrics also reflect that the Elovaters are from New England, rather than California. <<>>

One of several tracks with an acoustic guitar underpinning the arrangement is Gimme Love another good time song with the lyrics hardly being a paragon of profundity. <<>>

As a band that is on the road a lot, there is natural tendency to write songs in which traveling is the theme. M.I.A. is one of those, while the band keeps up the good-time danceable beat. <<>>

Also on the subject of traveling, in this case about missing home, is a track called Castaway, whose sound is more toward traditional reggae. <<>>

One of the highlights of the album, in terms of being imaginative both musically and lyrically, is Roll Up. It’s a clever love song with a great beat. <<>>

A tune called Mind Bender mixes the reggae influence with a little of the psychedelia that the song title would imply. <<>>

Of the more straight reggae tracks, a highlight is Burn Slow. It’s well-done all around. <<>>

The album ends with the closest thing that it has to philosophical lyrics, song titled Looking Out the Window and Driving, which features a nice acoustic texture without losing the reggae beat. <<>>

Endless Summer the new fourth full-length album from the New England reggae- influenced group The Elovaters is another worthy recording from this appealing good-time band, who makes music for grooving rather than pondering. Jackson Wetherbee is a charismatic vocalist, and the band keeps the sound tight. There does seem to be a little less variety in the sound of this album, compared to their previous ones, which were more eclectic, but it seems that the Elovaters are concentrating on what they do best.

Our grade for audio quality is C-plus. After I praised their previous albums for their clean sound with good dynamic range, this new one is a disappointment. While Wetherbee’s vocal is well-recorded and fairly clean, the bass and drums on the new album sound overdriven and distorted, with other instrumentation also sometimes sounding over-compressed.

The Elovators have never been a strictly reggae band, though they have won awards in the category. They have come up with an appealing blend, a tropical sound from a New England band, and their new album underscores that, and it’s a solid addition to their discography.

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This page last updated December 24, 2023