Elliott
U.S. Songs


4.0
excellent

Review

by ConsiderPhlebas USER (34 Reviews)
October 21st, 2010 | 8 replies


Release Date: 1998 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tinsel soft, injection bright

During their brief career, Louisville’s Elliott released three albums of original material and a final, posthumously released, live studio album. Although talented and hardworking they never really achieved a huge amount of commercial success, possibly because they refused to fit neatly into any one genre. Their debut, U.S. Songs, is almost melodic emo, but it’s also a little alt-rock, and maybe a few other things besides. They also lean toward a more abstract lyrical style, which suits the mature, pleasantly aloof feel of the music, but offers no easy or immediate focal points for the listener. It all fits together perfectly, though, creating a superbly textured sound which reaches from oh-so-easy drifts to crashing waves. Yes, it takes a little effort to fully delve into the record, but the surface alone is so considered, so obviously well arranged, that the process itself is warm and welcoming, new insight born in every repeat listen.

Above all, U.S. Songs is an album about the often ignored, deeply tangible border and relationship between melancholy and bliss. The clarity of Chris Higdon’s voice provides an ethereal, introspective quality to the imagery of the words, as they quietly float above the sweetly dulled guitars which bring ‘The Conversation’ to life, or the delicate, calm eye within ‘Alchemy as a Rhythm’. In stark but beautiful contrast to these lulls, Higdon often presses his voice to the very edges of a shout, no more so than amongst the pounding, expansive chords of ‘Safety Pin Explanation’, and it’s this constant swell and recede which brilliantly evokes the complexity of human emotion – the secret, unspoken pleasure at the heart of sadness and regret, the taint of anger and frustration in the very fabric of joy. Like all esoteric, abstract art, U.S. Songs is about ideas that can’t easily be explored, feelings that defy simple definition; but, crucially, Elliott provide an elegant, dreamily melodic backdrop to their thoughts, making them all the stronger and more meaningful. They may have failed to find an extensive audience, but in this way at least, they truly succeeded.



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user ratings (17)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
ConsiderPhlebas
October 21st 2010


6157 Comments


They mention melancholy and bliss in their description but I'd always thought that anyway, so I put it in. One of the first records I ever bought and it still gets spun every week.

Sheeple9000
October 21st 2010


1349 Comments


Nice to see this album reviewed, props.

ConsiderPhlebas
October 21st 2010


6157 Comments


Yeah, more people need to hear it

zen5729
October 21st 2010


16 Comments


Nice succinct review. Pos'd.

Also, I highly recommend checking out Higdon's new band Frontier(s) and their album There Will Be No Miracles Here, which I reviewed a short time ago.

SeaAnemone
October 21st 2010


20948 Comments


awesome... review was really necessary. album is so pretty.

Digging: Viet Cong - Viet Cong

ConsiderPhlebas
October 21st 2010


6157 Comments


True. Not heard of his new band, Zen, I'll have a look for the album.

Kiran
Emeritus
October 26th 2010


6002 Comments


nice to see you reviewing again dude, convinced me to get this

ConsiderPhlebas
October 26th 2010


6157 Comments


Good choice, man



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