'Popular Misconceptions of Happiness'

(Engineer records)

MARK: 87/100


After 10 years of existence, this New Jersey band called it quits in 2008; yet, the package arrived a short while ago and the record was so good I couldn't but review it; last but not least we're not like those snobs who just deal with material not older than 3 months.
This sophomore release masterfully mixes tracks of tight or melodic Indie rock with others a bit more experimental, such as the torrid "Worthwhile", enriched by a great chorus, or the following bucolic instrumental "Happily Cinematic", in which a few keyboards lines gently slide in, as gently as the sung background vocals. I didn't find any infos about the recording studio on the Internet, but I repute they did a serious job over there.
I'm aware the genre Elemae played might sound obsolete nowadays, but the quality of their songwriting is timeless, so real Rock music fans shouldn't be bothered by that aspect, and not even by the comparisons with Jimmy Eat World drawn in 2005 when the songs were made available. The album is organic, still the tracks keep a certain degree of heterogenousness that several more influences could be heard here and there; for instance "Kamikaze" might easily remind of Incubus (USA), but "Soapbox Premium" contains so many hints from Rock, Punk and Pop from the 80s that the list would turn huge.
"To Heel the Sole" is a track with lyrics open to diverse interpretations, and there other lyrics like that here that may be appreciated or not; on the other hand, what's sure about the defunct 4-piece is they can always turn a potentially mediocre and boring song to a lively one conveying sheer emotions; these are indications that at the Elemae headquarters they know how to capture an inattentive listener's mind with apparently easy listening music by making them sit down and enjoy all the nuances fluctuating in the air, as is particularly evident in the case of the highlight "The Fall of Summer".
In conclusion, "Popular Misconceptions of Happiness" has to be recommended to all mature Rock buffs in search for something a tad more sophisticated than a usual Arena rock album. I know and I like a lot of the folks whose products compete directly with this, but they're going to have to work harder than hell to beat this thing.

MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - December 20th, 2010

Line-up on this record:
Craig Cirinelli (vocals)
Chris Homentosky (guitars)
Mark Cooper (bass)
Dan Nolan (drums)
Additional personnel: Chris Smith (guitars); Mark 'Fingers' McKenna (keyboards)


Official sites:


-Life to Be Defined (CD - 2001)
-Popular Misconceptions of Happiness (CD - 2005)
-Sleeping with Adrenaline/Science Kit (MP3 only - 2006)
-Hours and Hours: A Tribute to Seaweed (2008)