Elliott Brood “Ambassador” (Six Shooter Records 2006)
Slo-core, hardcore, diplomatic corps
This record is all about creating an atmosphere and coming in at over six minutes the opening ‘Twill’ and the closing ‘Superior’ bookend the record creating the kind of ambience that is one part dread, two parts threatening, one part Wise Blood, three parts unrelenting and overall, utterly convincing. The banjo and ersatz percussion of ‘President (35)’ introduces an element of the Violent Femmes; in fact the whole enterprise is often like the Femmes crossed with evangelical power of 16 Horsepower. The songs all shuffle and ripple with indignation, banjo and guitar converse, things are hit, songs coalesce on this skeleton; the energy of the performance adds muscle and the writing the skin. The suitably funeral ‘My Friend’ plays on the portent, instruments and song crow black, picking over the corpse of the song.
The electric guitar graffiti that is sprayed all over ‘Johnny Rooke’ is like exchanging the hangman’s noose for a the electric chair - the song is shot through with energy lifting it out of its seat much like the voltage does to the death row prisoner; nearly as shocking is ‘The Bridge’ which is like the Mamas and Papas cranked up on speed until the electric guitar scythes through, then hyper pop-folk re-establishes itself. The most affecting song is ‘W.W.Y.H.M.B’ - with extraneous radio noises, the pecking of typewriter keys and gentle acoustics it lacks the dark brooding clouds that circle most of the record and instead creates an feeling that is more personal, the lyrical music slowly inveigling itself into your consciousness until you find yourself slightly teary eyed staring into the middle-distance. It is the kind of a album that creates the spaces for you to inhabit, creates mood and never short-changes you - a fragile, powerful and beautiful record.
Date review added: Monday, May 08, 2006
Reviewer: David Cowling
Related web link: Band website