Ben’s Brilliant Best Albums of the 1990s. No. 97. Elastica – Elastica

As a fresh faced idiot fresher at Liverpool University, my love of Brit Pop could not have been more obvious. I owned about seven hundred Blur t-shirts. I bought all the two-part cd singles of every single released from Dodgy’s Homegrown. I bought the Cast album. I bought a Ocean Colour Scene album, the one with the num num num-num num-num num num num-num num-num bapBabapBaBaBAbaba one on it. I saw The Longpigs live. I had stupid hair, bad trainers and more than a handful of Jarvis Cocker-esque suits bought from charity shops.

For a short period of time I thought Brit Pop was the greatest music scene of all time. It wasn’t though, was it? It was shit.


I still have a bit of a soft spot for Homegrown (not soft enough for it to make this list though, obviously) and while I never listen to a whole Pulp album nowadays, because there are tracks on each one that annoy me (like, how much further than ‘nice one, sorted’ did Jarvis expect a conversation to go with a random drug dealer who was probably twenty years younger than him and at least a little bit worried that he was police?) I’ll gladly acknowledge that they wrote some brilliant songs. Rather than being the greatest music scene of all time, Brit Pop was mostly a very very bad and uninspired one, forever teetering on the edge of plagiarism, albeit with a few good songs and even fewer good albums.

And one of the best of those good albums was Elastica by Elastica. And yes, I have already mentioned plagiarism. And yes, Wire and The Stranglers did sue them over similarities between their songs and the ones on Elastica. But, at the risk of upsetting a few of you, by removing the wilful antagonism of Wire and the naff blokeyness of The Stranglers, Elastica didn’t copy an existing formula, they improved it. They were the better band. Yeah, I said it. Soz and that.

Elastica sounds like a greatest hits album – all killer and no filler and all that. Every time a new song starts you wonder why it wasn’t a single. I have a theory that the best albums of the scene were all short. It isn’t something I’ve investigated, and I’m sure if I did it would turn out to be nonsense, but at thirty eight minutes long, Elastica is a strong piece of evidence in my favour, I guess. And it wasn’t just that it was more fun than the music that influenced it, it was more fun than most of the scene it came from. I don’t really know where I’m going with this. It’s a great album. That should be enough.