Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Elliott -- False Cathedrals
I remember Napster as a grandfatherly, convenient, seemingly trustworthy way to check out new bands. Napster's unruly child, KaZaA, was not like his father, with a dirty interface that just seemed wrong. Like many things that feel wrong in other places, KaZaA felt just right in my college apartment, and after a long slog through a bunch of mopey, emo crap, I quite gleefully stumbled onto Elliott's False Cathedrals. In a scene of whiny dudes crying about girls at a rainy window, Elliott offered up something else entirely.
After a minute of choral noise, False Cathedrals launches into a beautiful burst of energy that doesn't subside until the final track ends.
The main difference between this and the emo music of the time is that this is actually sexy. Yeah, I'm sorry, there isn't a better word for it. With the bass and drums turned up loud and rocking in the mix, Elliott was a big grown man among bands that sounded like they wished they could be children again. Plenty of piano and atmospheric noise and effects abide to set the band apart as well. On top of that, vocalist, Chris Higdon, sings about mysterious, darker things, not being unfortunately broken up with. The album's main weapon is power of emotion, not "EMOtion." If False Cathedrals has a flaw, it's that its constant power, coupled with Higdon's slightly droning voice, can be a bit much to take for 50 minutes. Saying something is a bit much to take is like saying something has too much chocolate, though. Twelve years later, False Cathedrals, Elliott's career-defining album, holds up. Anyone still listening to those big emo bands?
NOTE: David Loti, you saw this band at the Spanish Moon, and I didn't even realize they were playing. I am still jealous.
2000 Revelation Records
1. Voices 1:06
2. Calm Americans 4:25
3. Blessed by Your Own Ghost 5:00
4. Drive on Me 4:50
5. Calvary Song 3:27
6. Lipstick Stigmata 5:14
7. Dying Midwestern 5:28
8. Shallow Like Your Breath 4:30
9. Superstitions in Travel 3:51
10. Carving Oswego 4:12
11. Lie Close 4:31
12. Speed of Film 4:35