Friday, June 3, 2011

Elysian Fields ○ Last Night On Earth

Hello, everyone. This is gonna be a good one.

Man, where can I start? Elysian Fields is a band based in Brooklyn, NY, founded by Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles. They've pretty much become my local music heroes, even though I've been a fan of theirs for less than a year. In 1996, they released their debut album entitled "Bleed Your Cedar", arguably the only one that could truly lean towards being labeled "rock". Since the days of yore, the band has made great strides of progress, both in the style of their sound and in notoriety. Never falling into the quandary of deciding what route to take in regards to their music, Oren and Jennifer have consistently made sure that each album had it's own distinct, fresh feel. This sentiment holds especially true for their newest album, "Last Night On Earth".

This record in nothing short of wonderful, and it deserves every ounce of glowing appraisal that I'm about to give it. "Church Of The Holy Family" was the first song I listened to, and it remains one of my favorite songs by the band, period. It gave my incredibly high hopes, and I'm so, so glad that I was not let down. "Red Riding Hood" feels like a complete nod towards their Bleed Your Cedar-era style of music, and one that is warmly welcomed. Some songs, specifically "Villain On The Run" and "Old Old Wood", took a while to grow on me, and I can't even tell you why, because I'm not sure. However, after playing this album for nearly the hundredth time, I feel like kicking myself in the ass for not being able to appreciate these songs early on. It's hard for me to do this, but I'm gonna go ahead and say that the best songs on the album are "Can't Tell My Friends" and "Chance". If I could, I would've listed just about all of them, but I wanted to talk about these two in particular: "Can't Tell My Friends" is the only Elysian Fields song that features an electronic backing, and it works better than I would've ever imagined. "Chance" is just a fucking fantastic song. It flows notably well, and I've never heard anything like it come from them before. I feel obligated to add that "Last Night On Earth" is an incredibly strong closing track, and undoubtedly one of the greatest songs on the album.

However, like every other album, it's not flawless. First off, "Sleepover" is a song that comes across much, much better live than it does on the album. When I heard it played live, the lack of drumming and the subtly of the background vocals actually strengthened the song. I was slightly disappointed when I first heard the version provided on the album; it's execution does not do the story justice, and it doesn't do well as an opener. Aside from all of that, I'd have to say that the weakest song would have to be "Johnny". In comparison to the other slower songs on the album, it simply does nothing for me. There are no small nuances that grab my attention, no subtle gradation to be found. It's very cut & dry, and while there's nothing wrong with that, it's something not typically witnessed in an Elysian Fields song. Despite my somewhat harsh critique, I still find myself listening to these songs often enough to recommend that everyone give them a fair chance.

All in all, I feel that one of the biggest drawing points for newer listeners is that Jennifer's voice oozes sexuality. It's sensual, it's seductive, and there is clearly something wrong with you if you don't get aroused feel the same way. Her feminine crooning meshes perfectly with the lyrical content of 99% of their songs; these two factors, along with the superb instrumental capabilities of Oren, form an illusory musical experience. As for what other specific qualities the band has to offer, that's for the listener to decide.

To wrap it all up, I'm giving this album a completely well-earned and solid...


Download it here.
Oh, and you should actually, y'know, buy it if you enjoy it. It's only fair.
U.S. ┤ & ├ Europe


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