LP Review: False Cathedrals by Elliott

Elliott
False Cathedrals
Revelation; 2000

My Rating: B (73/100)

Best Tracks: "Calm Americans", "Blessed By Your Own Ghost", "Drive On To Me", "Shallow Like Your Breath", "Superstitions In Travel", "Speed of Film"

In transit-ion.

TRACK NOTES

"Voices"/"Calm Americans" (5/5)

  • Spectacular.
  • Coldplay-ish piano line, but I think they beat Chris Martin and his merry band of hobbits to the punch.
  • Hyper-emo, but in a good way.
  • A technical note: these tracks should be sequenced into 1. It sounds really awkward when you stream it.
  • Lastly: I’m actually not that crazy about this track, a little too melancholy for me, but it’s pretty great in all reality.

"Blessed By Your Own Ghost" (5/5)

  • Pretty.
  • Sorta dreamy.
  • Kinda sounds like "Silent Lucidity", right!?!? "We’ll protect you in the night…"

"Drive On To Me" (4.5/5)

  • Poppy.
  • Is it just me, or does Higdon’s second vocal track sound like Sheryl Crow?
  • Nice tune. Just not sure what "drive on to me" means.

"Calvary Song" (4/5)

  • Here’s one where it would have been good to actually understand Higdon’s vocals.
  • Man, that bass is just right up there in your face.
  • There’s something unique about this cut, but it’s not quite there, you know?

"Lipstick Stigmata" (4/5)

  • I’m not crazy about the recording here, but I’ll bet this one is pretty powerful live.
  • The end of this one almost sounds like late period Endpoint.
  • Not as melancholy as some of the earlier cuts, a bit more like their US Songs tracks.

"Dying Midwestern" (4/5)

  • Nice use of dissonance.
  • There’s those synth effects again.
  • Good grief, just wanna understand the lyrics!!!

"Shallow Like Your Breath" (4.5/5)

  • This one is gorgeous.
  • Nice build to nothing in the middle.
  • Reminds me a bit of "Second Story Skyscraper" in terms of the dramatic arc.

"Superstitions in Travel" (4/5)

  • This is a track that probably could have been a radio hit with production that let it breathe a little more.
  • Dig the use of the acoustic guitar at the beginning, along with the naked drums.
  • Vocals…intelligible…blah blah blah…

"Carving Oswego" (4/5)

  • This one has kind of an 80’s sound. Almost like Heart.
  • I would have loved to get an updated cut of this on Photorecording.

"Lie Close" (3.5/5)

  • This reminds me of early Boy Sets Fire.
  • Yeesh – not too crazy about this one.
  • That last part – "you and I were meant for each other" – that’s kind of cheezy.

"Speed of Film" (4.5/5)

  • This one settles into a nice groove.
  • Also a track that, with a little more time and attention, might have made a bit more of an impact.
  • This one has a very nice melody.

ALBUM NOTES

  • Here’s the deal – some people swear by this album, but for me the production sucks the life out of it. Thankfully, they captured their sound better on Song In The Air and even got superior versions of some of these songs on Photorecording.
  • As problematic as the production is, I have to say that at least these songs can’t really be pigeon-holed into the late-90’s/early-2000’s emo scene. There’s something of the Chicago sound in these tunes, a little bit of Slint-itude if you will.
  • I can remember when this came out, Buddyhead posted perhaps the most hilarious short review of an album in the age of the internet: "This sounds like Bryan Adams." On that note, I bet Elliott would have done a killer cover of "Everything I Do" (which will eternally be a great song due to its cinematic affiliations in the same way as Peter Cetera’s "The Glory of Love"). But I digress…
  • I wonder if this is the first album review that has ever mentioned Slint, Sheryl Crow, and Peter Cetera in reference to the same album?

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (5/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (4/5)
Consistency (4/5)
Songs (4.3/5)

Quick Review (LP): Rock N Roll by Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams
Rock N Roll
Lost Highway; 2003

My Rating: C (46/100)

Best Tracks: "Burning Photographs", "Anybody Wanna Take Me Home"


He hates his label!

NOTES

  • "This Is It." OK, not bad.
  • "Shallow", "1974"…meaty, aggressive hard rock. Nothing special, but not bad.
  • "So Alive" is the sort of thing that, heard every once in a while, is a catchy vaguely Bryan Adams sounding tune. I once heard it a million times while staying at a hotel, and now I hate it.
  • Round about "Luminol" I start to realize that very little separates this from the dustbin of alt-rock history.
  • "Burning Photographs" is a cool tune with a strong melody. 
  • Same with "Anybdoy Wanna Take Me Home", but I prefer the Love Is Hell version.
  • This is way too fast paced as well. Adams just seems like he’s in a colossal hurry here.
  • All in all, this comes off like one big temper tantrum or something. I’ve really enjoyed the second half of Adams’ solo career so far, so I’m glad he’s left his childish ways behind.
  • Seriously, you are setting yourself up to be hated when you name an album Rock N Roll. There’s the inevitable backlash, and then there’s the utter lack of imagination inherent in such a title that immediately repulses the folks who want to like you. Hands down, this is the worst album in Adams’ catalog, almost a total throwaway.
  • Good + thorough review from AMG here, FWIW.

ATTRIBUTES
Cohesion (4/5)
Concept (4/5)
Consequence (3/5)
Consistency (2/5)
Songs (3.5/5)