On their new concept album, Escape Velocity, Los Angeles-based alternative/indie-pop duo Eleven Point Two embarks on an enticing sonic journey into the unknown, temporarily escaping the noise and anxiety of the non-stop digital world. Upon reaching escape velocity, they engage the listener with nine captivating songs before eventually making their way back home with the aid of ground control.
Eleven Point Two is the alt/indie-pop music project of siblings Taylor Siegel (vocals, keys, guitar) and Jon Siegel (drums), who entered the music scene in 2017 with their single "Not Alone" and debut EP, Unidentified. The duo's eclectic, alt-rock sound is inspired by a vast array of artists, including Twenty One Pilots, Angels & Airwaves, and Coldplay. More recently, the duo's 2019 debut album, Painting in the Dark, presented a firm testimony to the tight vocals, solid songwriting and clean production that emanates from Eleven Point Two's music.
"Attention all cadets! Attention all cadets! You are now approaching escape velocity" introduces opening track "Out of the Noise," feeling like a virtual rocket launch out of the earthly noise, transporting the listener into the Escape Velocity journey. The entire album is an enjoyable, captivating listen, with three previously released singles ("Lost!" "Blurry," and "Welcome to My Anxiety") featured alongside some outstanding new songs.
"Fake" is powerful and anthemic-sounding, with an outstanding, emotive vocal performance by Taylor. Just one listen to this outstanding track will have you singing along with this one. The upbeat, bouncy "Space" aligns with the theme of the album while grounding itself in the human need to have space to recharge from time to time.
Driven by a touching piano accompaniment and earnest, soaring vocals, "Cheap Bottle of Red" is a heartfelt, emotional reflection on addiction as an escape mechanism. The upbeat, infectious chorus of "Greener" is paired with a lyrical theme where the illusion of "happy ever after" elsewhere is balanced by the reminder that grass, wherever it may grow, is greener when you water it. "Ground Control" is the perfect closing track to the album, with its subdued intro that transforms into a triumphant sonic return to earth where the space traveler longs to feel again after having a weight lifted from their shoulders.
To coincide with the album release, SoundThread Music Blog caught up with Taylor and Jon to to pose a few questions about the making of the Escape Velocity, their personal favorites on the album and upcoming plans for the band.
Can you tell us about the origins and/or theme of Escape Velocity?
[TAYLOR]: We had most of these songs written before establishing that we were going to release them as an album. I think "Out of the Noise" was really what gave us direction to try and create more of a concept album rather than continuing to release singles individually. To me that song feels like a rocket launch—the beginning of a journey into the unknown. It introduces the main theme of Escapism found throughout the album.
Back in 2019 when you released your debut album, Painting In The Dark, we learned that the origins of your band name go back to college astronomy class and a lesson about escape velocity (11.2 km/sec). With the new album title and songs named "Space" and "Ground Control," does the fascination with outer space continue to play a part in your songwriting?
[TAYLOR]: Absolutely. Anything related to space has immediately captured my attention for as long as I can remember. There was a time when I thought maybe I should be more sparse with incorporating it into the songs I write, but for this album it felt right to just lean into it.
Can you provide some insight into your creative process for the songs on Escape Velocity? How do you collaborate on the songwriting aspects?
[JON]: I think for this album we just really didn't want to rush or force anything. We're both fairly independent songwriters and will typically just bring different songs or ideas to each other. From there if something sticks with both of us then we'll start working the production; sometimes trying to create different versions of the song. If possible, we also like to take the best songs in progress to our live show before releasing. It helps get a feel for the right tempo and a lot of times just leads us to new ideas for the record. "Space" was actually performed live in October 2022, so that one has been in the works for a while now.
Is there any song on the album that's a personal favorite or that holds special meaning for either of you?
[JON]: Honestly it's so hard for me to pick a favorite… they definitely all hold special meaning in their own way. If I had to choose, I would probably say "Out of the Noise." To me, that one just really embodies the meaning of this album well and brings great energy to lead on.
[TAYLOR]: "Fake" has become a favorite for me lately. Mostly because I got out of my comfort zone a little and made it more guitar driven instead of piano which has always been my focus. It also has a nostalgic feeling for me. Reminds me of the type of rock music I grew up listening to.
What's in store for Eleven Point Two in the coming months? Are there any plans for forthcoming single releases, music videos or live performances?
[TAYLOR]: No dates are confirmed, but we are planning to play more shows locally this summer to promote the album.
Thanks to both Taylor and Jon for providing all the insightful responses! With that we leave you with the music video for Eleven Point Two's single, "Lost!"