Five 1990s bands who broke up too soon

These bands are gone but should not be forgotten.
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Tread carefully. Passions run hot when discussing this band. I’ll admit up front, that I’m an unabashed fan, but it seems that as many people loathe singer Justine Frischman and her bandmates as love them. There are several causes for this. There were accusations of plagiarism which hounded their major hit “Connection.” More on that in a moment. There was also the ebbing of the Britpop tide that wiped out Sleeper. But more than anything, I think there was just outright jealousy.

“Stutter” and “Connection” beat both Oasis and Blur onto the charts in the US. In the same way that punk bands get knocked by early fans for signing with a major label, Elastica lost some cred by actually succeeding in the US when other Britpop standard bearers were failing. The fact that they were fronted by a woman – one who was dating Blur singer Damon Albarn at the time of her greatest success – seemed all the more galling to a certain part of both press and fandom.

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Frischman was accused of ripping off Wire’s song “Three Girl Rhumba” in “Connection” (that’s when people weren’t whispering that Albarn was secretly writing all the Elastica songs). It’s the same charge that Olivia Rodrigo faced when she was accused of ripping off Elvis Costello on “Brutal.” As Elvis pointed out, the charge against Rodrigo was nonsense, just as the charge against Frischman was paper thin. Elastica may have borrowed a guitar rhythm, but Colin Newman’s song is drone-like while Frischman develops a tumbling melodic line out of that riff in the way that many artists build on existing musical phrases. Besides, I always thought Wire was borrowing from Lou Reed anyway.

In the end, Elastica was done in by the band’s inability to settle down to work on the debut’s follow-up. It took them five years and when The Menace came out in 2000, no one knew what to make of it. Time has given us more appreciation. Elastica was developing a style of synthpop that was about twenty years ahead of its time. It’s a bit of a mess, but a pretty glorious one at that.