It's always sad to see a pioneer go. Especially when it feels like they have reached the peek of their game. This was the case for Elliott. Since their birth back in 1995, Elliott has cemented themselves as a trailblazer in the "emo" game. With every release, they set new standards on how the game should be played. Your first listen with this release, you might feel as if they have quit the game, when in fact, they are once again just bending the rules.
With half of Elliott gone, mainly the lead songwriter, most were found uncertain as to how they could recruit new members and still be Elliott. Fortunately, newcomer Benny Clark breathed new life into them and helped contribute to their best release yet. Strings, more guitar delay than you can shake a stick at, e-bow coming out the ying-yang. This doesn't sound like the same Elliott we spent those summer nights 3 years ago listening to.
Benny's guitar work fits seemlessly in with Chris Higdon's vocals. Although the "rock" is a bit more toned down on this record, throughout the record, it seems that noone told drummer Kevin Ratterman. He holds one of the most solid backbeats in the independent music scene today, while playing with more heart and soul than anyone out there. He throws his body into each crash, as if it were his last. You can only imagine how often they had to tell him to tone it down.
Although I am a huge fan of Chris' vocals, the instrumental track, "Drag Like Pull," is far and away the big winner on this record. Showing the dynamic capabilities of this band, they sway back and forth from a mezzo-piano to a full out fortissimo. You can just imagine Kevin's hair swaying back and forth into his eyes and he pounds out the intricate beats while Benny and Chris sing back and forth to each other using only their guitars.
Sure, some will say "It's no False Catherdrals." Well I can tell you that it's not supposed to be. Elliott gave it their all in this release and it shows. They have brought the intensity they had in their earlier days and applied it to a more mature song writing process. With that method, they completed my favorite Elliott record. Don't be put off by anything you have heard. Please do yourself a favor and look into this record.
8.7 / 10
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Posted April 20, 2014, 10:22 a.m.
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