Photo Credit: Christine Paige
LIFE…IS A FRACTION shows the band reaching a creative zenith (all in a hard-hitting 34 minutes); it’s an original rock epic that shakes the foundations not only of what everyone’s come to expect of the New England trio, but also of the lives of everyone who listens. Musically, it was influenced by front man Aroian’s lifelong passion for Rush and particularly their 1978 classic album Hemispheres, as well as the early Genesis catalogue. After the main 10-song cycle, the album ends with ELSEWHERE’s most recent singles from 2020-21, “Call You Out” and the aforementioned “The Pledge.”
The band previously released two albums and EPs and are best known for their single “Don’t You Believe Me Baby,” a dynamic cover of a previously unrecorded early 80’s Police song. That atypical release helped the band generate over half a million streams on Spotify and score a full-page story in the Boston Herald
. It was followed by the “banthem” (ballad/anthem) “The Pledge,” which broke important ground by tackling the often-taboo subject of Alzheimer’s Disease; the song was mixed by Grammy-nominated producer Mark Needham (The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Pink, Elton John).
The LIFE…IS A FRACTION track listing is as follows:
1.) Life…is a Fraction I. Restless
2.) Life…is a Fraction II. Origin Story
3.) Life…is a Fraction III. In Search of the Unknown
4.) Life…is a Fraction IV. Rolling On
5.) Life…is a Fraction V. Diagnosis
6.) Life…is a Fraction VI. Realization
7.) Life…is a Fraction VII. Happening Now
8.) Life…is a Fraction VIII. Reflection
9.) Life…is a Fraction IX. Interlude/Transformation
10.) Life…is a Fraction X. Finale/The End of Everything
11.) Call You Out
12.) The Pledge
Q&A with Michael Aroian of ELSEWHERE
Q: Life…is a Fraction comes in at 34 minutes–was that where you ended up because you felt the story was told in that time?
Michael Aroian (MA): “Yes and no. Originally, the idea was only supposed to be told in 8-9 minutes and was going to be included as part of a B-side to an earlier EP we released in 2018 called “Multi-Man”. As the pandemic roared on and we became more introspective and experimental with our writing and recording, the sonic canvas expanded and time ironically stopped for awhile to allow us to broaden the story and give it proper attention and treatment. We didn’t intend to have 10 chapters at the outset but as the project progressed, it was evident more music was needed to complete the narrative.”
Q: Life…is a Fraction seems to have a universal appeal since through the pandemic time seemed to be broken into fractions, but also stood still. Noting time perception was different over the past few years, did this play into the story at all?
(MA): It did indirectly at first and then the idea of fractional time perception became more crystallized as our everyday lives were put on pause. One thought about why time seems to move by quicker as we get older relates to the notion of being more busy, be it with family or professional or other obligations. When we are younger, most of us don’t have as many responsibilities or complexities in our lives. This usually changes with time. However, even as I myself was tasked with less mundane things to worry about during that approximate two year pause, time still whipped by. And it was because my numerator of days lived on this earth was catching up with my fixed but unknown denominator of days that I had to live. No matter what, I have lived a greater relative percentage of my life than I did before the pandemic and as a result everything sped up despite me spending more time at home “doing nothing”…This observation to me became more chilling and underscored what we were trying to tell people with this story…
Q: Can you talk about how the band came up with and refined its merger of prog-leaning alt-rock?
(MA): The notion of us being a prog leaning alt/power-pop/new wave trio didn’t necessarily happen consciously as say a band like The Police purposefully (and with genius) marrying rock and reggae. It was more a function of evolution. All the members in the band love prog rock and were raised on it to some extent but for me, being a boy in the 80’s and becoming an adult in the 90’s, I also ended up being exposed to so many interesting genres within the rock realm be it from punk to new wave to grunge to brit pop to nu metal. A lot of these different influences permeate our writing and while some of the pursuits of prog rock can be fantastic, sometimes they can be lost in self-indulgence (which is also okay). I think what we were unconsciously trying to do was create a concept record that would be applicable to today’s music consuming environment. Things move faster and attention spans are shorter. The notion of the bridge in song arrangement has been abandoned or mutated. We thought we could convey a story with deep meaning in more bite sized chunks that perhaps younger people who are always on the move and looking at their phone could enjoy and understand. But stylistically and sonically our sound has arrived via a gradual confluence of many different musical influences.
Describing themselves as a “prog leaning alt/power-pop new wave band,” Boston based power trio Elsewhere’s single “Don’t You Believe Me Baby”–a dynamic cover of a long overlooked, previously unrecorded early 80’s Police song–has scored hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube, and streams on Spotify and landed the band a full page story in the Boston Herald. Their most recent EP Multi-Man includes three equally fiery originals penned by frontman and guitarist Michael Aroian. Elsewhere initially achieved notoriety for their now out of print album Outbound, which earned them slots at the College Music Journal (CMJ) Marathon and numerous showcases in NYC where major labels showed interest. The band later achieved an international breakthrough with their widely acclaimed 1981 album in 2010. In addition to Belgium, where they received a write-up in one of the country’s biggest rock magazines (Rock Tribune), they became popular and received great press in Germany, Denmark, Norway, UK, Italy, Czech Republic and other countries – all while continuing to hold court at top clubs in their home base of Boston and NYC.