Review Summary: So simple, so amazing.
One of the three albums from 2011 released by the artist known as Elvis Depressdly
was this; a 3-track EP that packs so much emotion into its 7 minute run-time that it’s almost incomprehensible. The sad-pop king released this shortly after his first EP Goner
a month earlier. It largely expands on the themes and style exhibited on that album as well as his debut, retaining the dejected vocals and folk instrumentation of both, complimented by well-placed electronic elements. At this point in time the project was a solo endeavour, which somewhat explains the reliance on electronic elements that, it seems, have been added in order to give the album more depth while Mat plays guitar and performs vocals. Fortunately, he is quite talented with the execution and application of the electronic component, which balances neatly with his soft vocals and bright guitar parts.
The variety of electronic effects throughout the EP is extensive, but not overdone or used simply for the sake of it. There are usually two or three programmed instruments/synths active while the guitar is playing; never enough to choke the life out of any of the songs and none of the effects are tacky or obvious. Usually the effects consist of programmed percussion instruments, such as the soft clicking on the final track, or the tambourine-style metallic clashing on ‘Crazier With You’. On the same track, though, Mat layers his normal vocals with another version of his voice filtered in order to give a much deeper sound. It works phenomenally well and reminds of a similar effect used by Fever Ray
on ‘If I Had A Heart’. There are soft synths that also flit through the album, lending their deeper, orchestral-influenced presence to the mix.
“My father lives on the computer and drinks mucho alcohol. My mother is quick as a viper, for a good time her number’s on the wall”.
works through a combination of two of Mat’s greatest assets; his voice, and his insightful-yet-forlorn lyrics. The vocals are what contribute the most to the depressing nature of the music. With a soothing voice that promises an end, but not necessarily a happy one, Mat weaves some interesting comments that somehow attack people and society without being confrontational. This is mostly exhibited on the first and last tracks, while ‘Crazier With You’ is sandwiched in between and still manages to be extremely moving even though the vocal component consists only of; “I don’t want to get better, what’s the use" I don’t want to get better, just crazier with you”, in the layered vocal style aforementioned. The guitar playing throughout the EP is quite simple, but incredibly effective. It mainly takes a back seat to the electronics and Mat’s voice anyway and ends up as another layer instead of being the centrepiece.
Although there have been better, lengthier Elvis Depressedly
albums released, this EP should not be overlooked, for it contains three extremely solid sad-pop tracks that create an undeniably grandiose atmosphere in such a short time-span.