It has been five years since British new wave punk band Elastica won over modern rock fans and critics alike with its catchy and sexy, if derivative, sound. With a new lineup and album half a decade in the making, the band clearly had much to prove at the sold-out Roxy, where enthused fans, as well as a hefty contingent of record company types, witnessed a still-flawed (under-rehearsed?) live act that nonetheless brings plenty of charm and enthusiasm to their well-worn sound of choice.
The sextet’s forthcoming album “The Menace” (Atlantic Records) includes more spare moods and a variety of tempos, in contrast to the unrelenting punk pace of their first album, and so the inclusion at the Roxy of many of the new songs allowed the show to respire that much easier.
The sensuous and throbbing art-punk of “Human,” which even included bongo drums, and encore entry “My Sex,” a spooky song of unrequited love in which pulsing bass and shimmering organ carry Justin Frischmann’s poetic and detached yearnings, revealed a band happily moving away from the limited appeal of its early recordings. Opener “How He Wrote Elastica Man” recalled “Private Idaho”-era B-52s.
A few older tunes thrown into the hourlong show, many owing their existence to early punk bands such as Wire and the Stranglers, pleased the punters up front, who jumped and shouted for such faves as “Waking Up,” with its distinct Oasis-style intro, a playful redo of their angular 1995 hit song “Connection” and the solid rock groove of “Car Song.”
Numerous missed cues and other musical mistakes, as well as Frischmann’s indecipherable vocals, tarnished the perf, though the unbridled energy of frisky new keyboard player Mew more than made up for the gaffes.