Grammy-nominated multi-hyphenate artist Elderbook – aka Alexander Kotz -delivers the much-needed comfort of companionship and human connection packaged skilfully as his debut record Why Do We Shake In The Cold?
Exploring themes of identity and emotion, among other things in an expansive soundscape that brings together electronic music,soul, pop, rock, and gospel, etc the 11-track production builds as the culmination of Elderbrook’s life experiences and consistently ascending career graph.
Opening with electro-leaning, “All My Love,” the album appears simple and minimalistic, deceptively so as the following tracks prove. Intensely emotive and intricate offering “Numb,” with its clubby, psychedelic sonics, and hazy vocals sets the bar high as an early highlight on the album.
The dance-leaning pop style of tracks like “ Numb”, “I’m A Fool,” and “Back To My Bed” which harken back to the London instrumentalist’s indie past is offset by the stunning synth-laden beat and funky earworm single “My House,” which showcases a brand-new side to Elderbrook’s diverse musicality. With a vibe that instantly warms you and urges you to dance away your troubles, this infectious track is an instant stand-out.
Following the playful mood of “My House” with the groovy, soaring 2019 hit “Something About You” featuring Rudimental, Elderbrook reproves his consistent in delivering one hit after another. Then another, as next track, “Down By The Bay,” slows down the tempo with its experimental, atmospheric instrumental and Elderbrook’s unique, drawling vocal timbre before.
The jazz-tinged “Take A Minute,” juxtaposed against the peppy pop vibe of “Set Fire To My Gun,” once again bring back the rising star’s ability to execute smooth jumps from genre to genre in a way that gets your feet tapping before you can even take note of the change.
Crossing every playful, upbeat turn in the 38-minute production with perfect poise, Elderbrook arrives at his destination of showcasing vulnerability and the need for personal connection on symbolic, electronic title track “Why Do We Shake In The Cold?” which delves into the idea that we shiver in the cold to let other people know that we need them close.
Taking the raw humanity he lays down on the title track to a level that transcends everything we’ve heard so far in the album, the final track, “Next December,” with its minimal organ sounds brings the focus to Elderbrook’s quietly powerful vocals which resonates and remains with us long after the prolonged final note plays.
With 11 tracks and not a single one to be skipped for fear of missing something greater, Why Do We Shake In The Cold? is a success in every way that counts and beyond. Euphoric and sombre in equal parts, this album is your companion on good days and bad, the chill of your worst fears warmed up effortlessly with finely crafted music that pushes outward at the artist’s boundaries while drawing listeners in towards an unknown comfort.