Degrees of Freedom
Artist: Eloi
Label: Hot Trax,1997
Time: 14 Tracks/56:43

If you like groove with just enough grunge to keep things interesting, here's a little indie for you.  Eloi puts together a sound that deserves to be played with the car windows down, the volume cranked up, and the bass blasting through your speakers for the entire neighborhood to hear.  From a slow groove to a near grunge drive, Eloi dishes up variety in their droning guitars and vibrate-into-your-skull bass.  Even the vocals have a nice range, from almost screaming to melodic. These elements combine to creat a sound that is almost a cross between Metallica and Ugly Kid Joe.  These guys are very, very good.

For an indie, Degrees of Freedom is superbly produced.  The sound is smooth with just the right balance of effects to make the songs come alive without drowning the sound.  It is slightly muddy, but almost unnoticeably so (the dirtiness actually adds to Eloi's sound).

The lyrics address themes like dealing with anger and pride, being open to the Spirit, the beauty of our heavenly reward, and asking for help in our struggle to be God's children.  Some are quite poetic while others are straightforward and easy to understand.  It is a nice mix that doesn't keep you scratching your head or leave you bored by simplicity.

The sleeve and liner notes are the only things that really scream "indie." They appear to be homemade and printed by someone's computer printer.  All the lyrics are there as well as some home pictures of the band.  Don't let this scare you off.  There is some truly excellent music here.

Hopefully Eloi will be together for quite some time.  I'll be interested to see how their sound grows as they mature.  It would be nice to hear how they sound on a big budget label.

By Mark Aylor