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Album review: Elias - Entwined

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Swedish artist, Elias, has spent the past three years spilling out his soul into debut album Entwined. It is raw, honest and emotional, but his exploration of the human condition lacks the optimism that we all desire. 

Elias

Elias's voice is something special, there is no denying that. It carries a raspy tone, similar to that of James Arthur, and its soulful quality is of the same level as Rag'n'Bone Man. The combination of the two raises each track into an atmospheric quality that whisks you away into a new world that Elias has created. 

Individually, each track has been masterfully crafted in terms of production, and each lyric is saturated with meaning, but as a collective, the album falls flat. It fails to take you on a journey through contrasting emotions. Elias provides the sorrow, the desperation, even anger, but there is no optimism in sight, and it makes it challenging to listen to it in one go. 

The album opens with 'Focus', a slow and apologetic song that sets the tone. The song creates an intimate bond with the listener through the harmonies and quiet piano chords that allow Elias's voice to take centre stage; it is spine chilling. However, the uniqueness of the song is undermined due to the fact that this technique is used multiple times throughout the album, letting it down on a second listen through. 

One of the only deviations from this slow and melancholic tone is 'Tearing Down the Walls', my personal favourite. It explores the idea of breaking down the barriers in order for us as humans to become more connected. A powerful message that only gains more energy through its upbeat pop style. The rapid rhythm mimics the sound of running footsteps, which builds tension throughout the song, until it is snatched away during the pre-chorus. This use of the intimacy that he explored during 'Focus' is put to work here, but the contrast is effective as it highlights the emotional authenticity of his voice. The increased tempo then returns for the chorus, but never loses that soulful quality that Elias is exceptional at. This tracks stands out as the best on the album. 

Further along the album, Elias chose to include an interlude, under the title 'Fall'. Often, an interlude carries a different mood to the album, in order to act as a change of pace to break up the tone of the surrounding songs, however 'Fall' creates the opposite effect, and simply gets lost among the rest. There is nothing particularly new or distinctive that Elias hasn't already displayed to us in earlier songs, and so feels an unnecessary addition. 

Entwined then comes to a close with a song of the same name. While a beautiful track, it still sustains the slow and intimate quality that 'Focus' provided at the beginning. It lacks the optimism and purpose that we want to leave an album on, particularly an album that is woven together with this much melancholy. 

As a debut album, it is easy to identify the skill and talent that this artist has, but clearly there is still a lot of growth and evolution in store for Elias. 

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