Album review: SPACE ELEVATOR – II


SPV/Steamhammer [Release date 25.05.18]

Album number two from Space Elevator still sees the flamboyant singer The Duchess and guitarist David Young leading the band. In a neat twist they have collaborated with a Canadian space tech company Torth Technology who are looking to build a space tower, which will feature a space elevator – a neat tie-in with the band’s name. The album’s first single ‘We Can Fly’ was filmed on top of one of the world’s largest satellite dishes.

The album kicks off with a trio of top draw pop fuelled rockers. ‘Take The Pain’ cleverly melds a big riff from David Young with the distinctive vocals of The Duchess. ‘Talk Talk’ is seemingly over in a flash and has a blissful pop rock chorus. The album’s stand out is ‘World Of Possibilities’, from the soaring vocals of the Duchess (even a little Kate Bush like at one stage) through to the John Deacon-approved bass lines of Chas Maguire, this song is a winner. A pop rock gem.

Single ‘We Can Fly’ is a canny song as the gentle start lulls you in thinking it is a ballad before it starts to rock out midway. Another song with a fine guitar solo from David Young and it also features some suitably spacey keys.

The rock rap of ‘W.Y.T.A.T.’ is a Marmite song, one you will either love or skip after first listen. It does work thanks to the heavy guitar and The Duchess who does a good rap it has to be said.

Mike Moran, who has worked with Queen and Freddie Mercury’s solo albums (most notably the ’Barcelona’ album), plays piano on ‘Queen For A Day’. In true Queen style this one features all manner of arrangements from the soaring guitar solo through to the massed choral backing vocals. A suitably impressive way to end an album full of quality rock songs with a distinct pop edge.

Space Elevator have upped their game big time on album number two, with a bigger production and songs that have broad appeal. Now the hard part is getting people to listen to them as once they do they will be fans of Space Elevator. ****1/2

Review by Jason Ritchie

Guitarist David Young answers a few questions about the new album, touring and the news that their debut album gets re-issued by SPV on June 22nd. Read on for more details…

The video for ‘We Can Fly’ is a bit different being filmed on a giant satellite dish! Whose idea was that and was it a little bit scary?

Ah well this all came about due to our collaboration with Thothx in Canada. They have worldwide patents on a 20km space tower with (space) elevators on the side. They also asked to use the opening track from our first album “Elevator” on their CGI demonstration of the tower.

We met them in the UK  when they were visiting the head of the UK Space Agency and they mentioned that they owned the biggest privately owned satellite dish in the world and that it would be a great place to shoot a video. It was scary in the sense that it took a lot of organising.

The band flew to Canada and we had to hire instruments in Canada from the UK. Book a Canadian drone company etc. That said, you probably refer to the height of the dish! It wasn’t scary for the band as once you’re on the dish you can’t really see below it, but The Duchess had to climb up to the focus cabin.  She was the only one that did and apparently climbing down was much more scary. There’s a video on YouTube called “Duchess Dish Climb” and it looks the pretty scary part of it!

How did you get Mike Moran involved on ‘Queen For A Day’? The song is very Queen like with the backing vocals, big arrangements etc. Were you after a Queen feel on this one?

The first album was recorded at Mike’s studio at his home in Buckinghamshire. Prior to that I had produced a couple of classical guitar albums for another guitarist at his studio.

Our co-producer, engineer and video maker Adam Vanryne is Mike’s right hand man. That’s where I met Adam, doing those classical guitar albums. I immediately wanted him to work on all the Space Elevator stuff and in essence we see him as a fifth non playing member ( I don’t know if he sees it that way! lol) but through those projects, we’ve known Mike for a while. Myself and The Duchess have also played and sung on sessions for Mike. I think Brian Greene our drummer has to at some point.

Yes, we wanted something that was a nod to Queen and I was keen to write something in three , a bit like In The Lap Of The Gods. That type of angle. We also asked Mike to play it as close to how Freddie would as possible. So in the end it has some Queen type tricks in there but still sounds like a Space Elevator song.

How did you hook-up with SPV/Steamhammer and any plan to re-issue the band’s debut album?

This has worked out great in the end, but it wasn’t without initial difficulty. We were self-releasing on February 23rd and had already manufactured all the stock. A mutual industry friend of the band and SPV sent the final mixes of Space Elevator II to Olly Hahn, label head at SPV.  Turns out that he’d been following us on Facebook since he saw our cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Don’t Believe A Word’. He was immediately keen to sign us and co-incidentally we signed in Hannover on Feb 23. They then needed some promo time etc. so the album finally came out on May 25.

I’m delighted to say that the debut album will be re–released by SPV on June 22nd on CD and digital but including ‘Don’t Believe A Word’ as a bonus track. That song has never appeared on a physical copy before.

How did the band’s recent UK dates go? Is the live scene getting tougher now as it seems a fair few venues have closed over the past few years.

They went great and were really well received, however due to the signing with SPV and the way the dates worked out as I was saying in the previous answer, the tour dates ended up being prior to the album release. So half of our set involved playing a new album nobody had heard and that we couldn’t sell at the gigs as it wasn’t yet out. For all that the material went down great. I booked all the tour dates in 2017 believing the album was being released on Feb 23.

Is it getting tougher? No, it’s always been tough!

What have the band got planned for the rest of 2018?

Hopefully more live dates.

The priority is securing a live agent/booker. That should be much easier now that we’re signed. We are due to deliver a third album to SPV and I suppose we ought to write it! ha.

For someone new to Space Elevator’s music how would you describe it?

We seem to turn up in the rock/metal world when it comes to reviews etc. but we’re actually pretty mainstream. Yes we’re a rock band, but melody and songs are absolutely key to us. We do enjoy vocal harmonies and guitar layering on top of fairly hard hitting bass and drums but I believe we have much wider scope than just another melodic rock band. I’ve seen reviews compare us to Queen, Whitesnake, Abba, Kate Bush, Genesis, Thin Lizzy, Pink, Aerosmith  and more . Take your pick! I do think we have an identifiable sound though so I we’re not easily pigeon holed.

Message for your fans…

Thank you for the enormous support, especially on our Pledge music campaign. Getting that type of support for an album that wasn’t even recorded at the time is incredible. Hopefully we’ll be out on the road again in the Autumn.

Josh Taerk’s latest Sunday Session was streamed on Sunday 17 July.

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