Elastica Elastica (Geffen Records) Elastica's debut hit the British indie scene with force. Sadly the group never made such an impact again, brought down by division, drugs and tabloid pressure. Elastica were unlike the lad-orientated groups of the Britpop scene that started in the early 1990s as a revolt against the invasion of American grunge. Fronted by the intelligent and effortlessly cool Justine Frischmann (previously guitarist in Suede), the band also featured the doe-eyed Donna Matthews on guitar, Annie Holland on bass and token male Justin Welch on drums. Frischmann was the band's driving force and wrote most of their eponymous debut. On its release in 1995, it became Britain's fastest-selling debut album. The combination of fast, catchy, indie punk songs that never lasted more than four minutes and Frischmann's deadpan London vocals helped move indie into the mainstream. Yet Elastica couldn't really be credited with breaking new ground. Grumbles about plagiarism from Wire and the Stranglers led to Elastica being sued. Frischmann cited Wire as an influence, and such sound-alike songs as Connection (with an almost identical intro to Wire's Three Girl Rhumba) and Line Up were too much, and Elastica were forced to reach an out-of- court settlement. Anyone with ears didn't care. Elastica's short, sharp songs had an energy and intelligence that was missing from their peers' hits. The simple anthem of Oasis' Wonderwall (Frischmann described Oasis as 'dreary') and Parklife by Blur, fronted by Frischmann's boyfriend, Damon Albarn, seemed introvertedly English. Frischmann never reduced herself to a pouting pop princess (one of her reasons for forming Elastica was the lack of creativity she had been granted in Suede). The dollybird looks that female pop stars are so wont to parrot were not for her. Still, she found the music industry and the pressures on female performers venal. Hence her encouraging Welch to make vomiting sounds on Line Up to illustrate their disgust with the music business. Elastica spent much of 1995 touring their debut, mainly in the US, where their popularity far outdid that of Blur and Oasis and their album went gold. Despite the success, it was the beginning of the end. Frischmann's domineering work ethic caused Holland to leave the band, citing exhaustion. By the time Elastica went into the studio to work on their second album, Frischmann and Matthews were so at odds they were barely speaking. Tabloid fascination over Frischmann's relationship with Albarn, who had become the poster boy of Britpop, and Frischmann's drug abuse heralded both the end of their relationship and of Elastica's impact. The weekend Frischmann walked out on Albarn, Mathews quit the band. Although Holland returned to Elastica to work on The Menace (2000), the band's difficult second album, a year later they announced their amicable split.