Elijah Ford, who released his first solo album "Upon Waking" in 2011, teamed up with bassist Jesse Ebaugh and guitarist Ricky Ray Jackson to form Elijah Ford & The Bloom. Their debut, "As You Were," is an enjoyable pop-rock album which, while not anything particularly unique or surprising, is very solid.
Ford's California roots are evident by the very West Coast feel of many of these tracks: "Try As You Might" and "The Way We Were" have a laid-back, beach vibe, much like Rooney or Spoon. "The Way We Were," specifically, is very nostalgic about a failed relationship but in a very upbeat, pop-rock fashion. Ford's voice is more rough than smooth, appealing in this particular genre. It allows his voice to show more raw emotion in a very real way, perfect for a live venue, perhaps.
The album quickly turns from upbeat to angst with "Say The Words," which, although also nostalgic, evokes more emotional pain and suffering than the former tracks. One of the stars of this album, this track shows the dark, not-so-pop side of this genre. "Blessed," as well, continues with that sadness.
The band formed and performed in Austin, and this too is evident. The tracks would sound great live, with Ford's raw voice, some solid instrumentals perfect for dancing (like in "Faltering"), and simple but effective harmonies. In addition, certain songs like "Hollow Years" and "If Not Today" add some country to that pop-rock sound.
Stylistically, the songs don't necessarily mesh in a holistic way. The pop-rock vibes of the first half seem a little disconnected from the more country feel of the second half. They could almost belong to two different albums entirely. That being said, Elijah Ford & The Bloom show that they can explore different genres and sound good. They haven't done anything earth shattering, but it's a solid, fun album.