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Atlanta band gets lifted with Strangelove 

Elevation looks to expand audience with new release

In 2001, U2 embarked on a massive tour dubbed Elevation. Cover bands soon came out of the woodwork, naming themselves after the concerts. As a result, the Atlanta-based quintet Elevation had to live down some false branding early on.

"U2 is an influence of the band maybe, but it has nothing to do with the name," lead singer Nathan Smith says, noting that fans quickly realized U2 and Elevation played different styles of music. "As the band started to find its sound, it kind of stopped."

Last fall, Elevation signed a deal with Minneapolis-based 50 Records and immediately started recording Strangelove, the band's debut release. The first single, "Razoreyes," is formed around a neo-disco beat backed by a string section. An anthemic rock chorus and an impressionistic, lyrical bridge complete the picture.

Smith says the album is the band's definition of Elevation, a group that includes guitarists Andrew Averso and Luke Hickok, bassist Chase Schell and Stephen Bailey on drums. The guys have been playing music in Atlanta, in one form or another, for years.

In the beginning, Averso says, "it was a very intimidating scene." But once the band broke in, Averso saw how close musicians in Atlanta were. "We're friends with guys who all want the same thing," he says.

Even though the group has a recorded catalog of songs (a number of EPs were never released), Elevation has yet to be introduced to listeners outside the South. Strangelove is the group's chance, Smith says. "We still consider ourselves a new band," he adds. "That's what everyone else sees us as."

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