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When I was about 11 or 12, I was really into softcore emo. It was the peak of the genre’s mainstream success- I found a mix CD in my room the other week which included music by both Fall Out Boy and Fergie. My favorite song to come out of that era was a song called “The Rescue” from a lesser-known Detroit emo-punk band, Search The City. It was an acoustic version from Youtube, and I listened to it every day for probably a year. It was the kind of song that made me feel content and wistful at the same time; it was sad and yet somehow comforting. It made me feel stirred but at peace.

That’s how ‘I’m Not Here, I’m Not Real’ hits me. (Disclaimer: I’m not trying to draw any stylistic comparisons to mid-2000s emo.) Elementals have crafted a captivating and pleasantly nostalgic record. That’s not to say it’s all flowers and sunshine. At times it can be as abrasive as it is delicate- Elementals don’t take the backseat. Opener “Sunbirth” showcases the growling power behind the band, and “Belladonna” does a great job of playing up the album’s softer side. My favorite track, “Alexandra,” swirls both extremes into a sweeping ballad reminiscent of a subtler Pavement.

All in all, ‘I’m Not Here, I’m Not Real’ is a record that I’m kind of obsessed with and highly recommend to fans of just about any rock band. It’s been on heavy rotation in my dorm room, and no one in my hall has complained about the noise, so I think that says it all right there.

‘I’m Not Here, I’m Not Real’ will be released on September 11th.

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