COURTESY AARON FARLEY/INTERSCOPE
He’s got it together
Only three weeks after its release, Hawaii reggae fans should be rallying behind this Los Angeles-born singer's debut album.
"Together as One"
After all, his "Dreams Come True," from the "Sex and the City" soundtrack, scored with local listeners back in Double-O when he was going by his full name of Elan Atias. Plus, his cover of Roxy Music's "Slave to Love" was on the soundtrack of the locally shot Adam Sandler-Drew Barrymore comedy "50 First Dates."
It helps also that the album was put together with the guidance of No Doubt bassist Tony Kanal for his new Kingsbury label, AND Gwen Stefani guests on a coupla songs, fer gosh sakes!
And did I mention that Elan also sang with the late Bob Marley's Wailers band from 1997 to '99?
In an interview in last month's URB magazine, Elan remembers his first gig with the legendary group: "Singing Bob's songs, the reaction was unbelievable. I'd never had a sound check or rehearsal and I wanted to get all the lyrics right. At the beginning (of the set), I was just in a zone, closing my eyes and singing the songs. ... A lot of people thought I was one of Bob's 'whities' because I sounded so much like him, and people in Jamaica still think that."
That channeled voice can be heard on the album's title track, as Elan basks in Marley's light, and implores with open arms for unity amongst his "breddren and sistren."
"Together as One" works more as a showcase collection than a cohesive album. An iTunes Discovery Download, "Do Right By You," is one of the better songs herein, featuring a solid slow 'n' steady groove courtesy of Miami's Tony "GD" Kelly. And the playful "Feel My Pressure" shows Elan getting down for the ladies; the song just crying out for an extended dance remix.
The "Hollaback Girl" lends her pipes as first a backing vocalist on the heartfelt "I Wanna Yell," a song with an old-school vibe, complete with trombone. Stefani also duets with Elan on the light dance-hall number "Allnighter."
But there are better collaborations on this album than the one with Ms. Gwen. Kanal's production work with the legendary wicked "riddim twins" of Sly & Robbie is at its best on the breakout "You Don't Come Around No More," featuring a major toasting effort from the one-and-only Cutty Ranks. And Kanal goes down to Kingston, Jamaica, to oversee "Don't You Go," featuring a breezy, push-and-pull pairing of Elan with the sexy Tami Chynn. The song has a sparkly chorus straight out of '80s new wave.
So Hawaii, it's your move to feel the music of Elan.