The Valley of the Sun has a fantastic local music scene; but, in the time I’ve been here, it has been tough finding those bands that have the ever-elusive qualities that can take them to the next level. El West have definitely set themselves apart from other Phoenix indie bands, seamlessly blending subtle musical ideas from other genres into a fantastic version of indie rock.
The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” is ancient at this point, but that tactic rarely fails when judging music. I couldn’t help it here. They look like a generic aesthetically pleasing dish at a fine-dining restaurant; not exactly like a group of guys breaking musical boundaries. I was quickly shown that’s how you miss out on the good shit. The vocalist is unbelievable. He has the aura of an opera singer who’s always wanted to be in a rock band, but refuses to sing any other way. It works flawlessly. His voice has this deep but airy quality that sets him apart from any other rock singers out there. Described as melodically driven, there’s no other way to put it. He hits so many unexpected notes for such a deep voice.
The instrumentals range from a post-rock feel to almost metal that make you want to watch the clouds roll by. The buildups are solid, with solid modern rhythms that bring that intense feel we all need these days.
Their first self-titled EP holds true to a more traditional indie feel; but with their second release, The Mainstay, they’ve managed to transcend any definite description of a genre. If I had only listened to their second release, I’d have no idea how to accurately describe them. Set to release a new single on April 12th titled “Where the Lights Go”, they say we’re about to see a new side of the band. With the massive quality of their previous work, it is not to be missed. In the meantime, go check out their single from 2016, “Olivine”. It’s insanely catchy and will be stuck in your head for days.