Review Summary: You know the feeling you get when two of your friends start dating and everything they post on their facebook profiles makes you just want to vomit?Heart and soul
is the key to a lot of modern acoustic music, bands for the most part try to convince the world that what they play and sing about is a part of who they really are. In this context, music, in particular lyrics become an extension of an artist's life experience(s) and provide a doorway for listeners to both, reflect on the words in the context of their own experience and to observe as the artist unravels their own personal story.
The aforementioned is probably the pedestal from which Ellington's musical protagonist, Jake Bosci, attempts to deliver his reflections on life love and all the above. Often succeeding in winning the hearts of many a teenage girl and love struck or deluded male. But with closer inspection, it is obvious the sermon that Bosci preaches is shallow at best, the delivery is flawed and the outcome is less than convincing.
On the surface, More like a movie, less like real life
presents itself as a warm melodic reflection on life love and all those sweet guilty pleasures we all enjoy. While essentially reinventing the Chris Carrabba wheel, Ellington manage to incorporate a highly positive element into the typical acoustic indie pop formula. Bosci's soft, whispered vocals somehow lead the way for a backdrop of soft melodies and mid tempo drumming. All of this coupled with an obvious attention to aesthetic consistency and detail help Ellington in their crusade to deliver a glossy pitch-perfect brand of marketable emotion. A blend of acoustic driven pop rock, catchy hooks and a dash of piano.
So with all the basics in check and not to mention, a stunning list of cameo appearances such as Matthew Thiessen (Relient K), Leighton Antelman (Lydia) and Jeff Turner (Say Anything)
, it is amazing, if not baffling that Ellington still manage to not quite hit the mark. In summary More like a movie, less like real life
falters heavily with its reliance on scenes of pre-pubescent ideals of love. As a result, the overall product, in particular Bosci's attempts to construct or evoke an emotional atmosphere, come across as shallow and as whiny as his vocals.
From the outset, wishy washy sugary lines such as "Creatively i drew a picture on some paper, i drew our names and in the middle was a heart" or "the first star i see tonight i'm gonna make a wish, i wish you were by my side so i could tell you this" seem to be the crutch of this EP. Throwaway and weightless lines whispered in a monotonic one dimensional voice, make this EP much more of a bore than it aught to be. The overabundant use of the word 'love' in the span of 6 songs almost makes one wonder whether or not the lyrics have come straight out of all those classic chick flicks girls make guys painfully endure to ensure they really are into the relationship. Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, im looking at you.
Don't get me wrong, musically there are some undeniable moments of near perfect musical bliss to be found. 'Between faith and the city' proves to be a perfect moment
of music. It will be stuck in your head on repeat, and rightfully so, this gem is packed with all the melodies, harmonies and shimmery guitar lines you can imagine, well paced, well spaced and structurally sound. Likewise, the well positioned time shifts, coupled with the calculated switches between sparse and dense levels of instrumentation found at various points in the EP, provide a powerful context for the hooks. But a few good moves won't make up for the ~20minutes of monotony you will find here.
Ellington have produced an EP that can only be described as a beautiful and uplifting collection of uninspired sugar coated mediocrity. If life was a movie, this EP would be a perfect companion to everyday endeavours, a way to express those positive emotions we all seek. But in reality, it is nothing more than a warm, summery, compendium of yawn worthy thematic cliches. A nice quickie, but nothing permanent.