“There’s a spectrum of sorts when it comes to melody in instrumental rock. Some bands will introduce one melody and chisel it over time, using the power of repetition to drive a narrative. Other bands will compile many melodies played in quick succession, opting for variety rather than development.
New Haven trio Ourselves Alone is undoubtedly in the latter group. The band pick from an ostensibly infinite supply of technical guitar phrases, jazzy chord progressions and rapidly changing soundscapes. Their fast, noisy and unpredictable approach places them amongst other rising math acts like Lingua Nada and Space Corolla, bands who march the fine line between glowing coherent pop sensibilities and all-out dissonant cacophony.
The proof is in the pudding as you delve into Elusive Firsts. This new LP is another firm foot in the ground for Ourselves Alone, an album that matches the vivacity and madcap stylings of bands like Postmadonna and Tera Melos. Elusive Firsts will surely strike a chord with the emo revival nerds, pop punkers, jazz dorks, and math rock pundits alike, borrowing from each of these genres to forge its sound. This is an album so densely packed with instrumental quirks and interludes that there’s going to be something you like in here. Trust us, it’s a very dense fruit tree.”
– Nikk Hunter of Fecking Bahamas
“New Haven math-rock band Ourselves Alone makes highly formidable and heavily intricate guitar music that strides between both punk energetics and post-rock atmospherics.
Earlier last week, Ourselves Alone issued their newest album, Elusive Firsts. It is the band’s first bit of new music since 2016’s COVET EP.
Building upon the complex textural and rhythmic dynamics of their debut, Elusive Firsts is a highly accessible foray into the many deviations of math rock. Tracks like opener “Arms to the Trees” and early single “Stiff Jazz” contain multitudes of nuance and even a sliver of pop sensibility that pushes the band into more memorable territory than their many formidable peers. The band also expands its sonic palate with a tasteful smattering of vocals from drummer Nick Restivo, and a heightened presence of violin and viola. While remarkably consistent throughout, the album ends on both a sonic and semantic high note with the thrilling sprint of ‘A Poodle With Excuses.'”
– Dan Osto of CTScramble
“Ourselves, Alone, a charismatic New Haven math-rock trio, makes dense, volcanic music.
Much happens, in short time spans. Disparate groups of listeners — hardcore fans, indie folk lovers, prog-rock oldsters and jazz heads, punk kids and admirers of shred-level virtuosity — can reach in and grab whatever interests them…”
– Michael Hamad of The Hartford Courant