Review: Self is Universe by Ourselves the Elves

Self is Universe by Ourselves the ElvesHere’s my perception: Ourselves the Elves have always felt elusive. In my harried life, juggling so many things, they’re a band I always hear of, then forget, then hear of again. They’ve been around since 2011, and have released two EPs. People in the know love them. I have yet to listen to them. That’s a handicap easily overcome with their first full-length record, Self is Universe. The record also tells you a lot about the unusual yet compelling dynamic of the band’s music. It sounds like 80s lo-fi, but it doesn’t. It sounds like shoegaze, but it doesn’t. It sounds like that brief moment in the 90s when jangly pop was coming back, but it doesn’t. The album may be a bit too long but they’d be forgiven for finally having all this space to stretch and, more importantly, to flit around vibes without effort. But where Ourselves the Elves excel is capturing this certain mindset, one you wouldn’t necessarily have but one you totally understand once you give the record a chance to set in. Self is Universe claws through uncertainties and differences to find that common thing, at least momentarily – and they do so in a way that makes even this clueless outsider welcome. Ultimately, it always feels nice to know that, for under an hour, you’re part of the club. [NB]4/5

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