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Elliott Brood - Mountain Meadows (Cover Artwork)

Elliott Brood

Elliott Brood: Mountain MeadowsMountain Meadows (2008)
Six Shooter

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:


Contributed by: adamAdam
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Elliott Brood had the unfortunate luck of hooking me with what's become one of my favourite songs. "Oh Alberta" is, in purely academic terms, an awesome little ditty. It's a catchy banjo-driven ode to the provinces of Canada. It's campy, nonsensical and more fun than your most fondly remembered chil.
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Elliott Brood had the unfortunate luck of hooking me with what's become one of my favourite songs. "Oh Alberta" is, in purely academic terms, an awesome little ditty. It's a catchy banjo-driven ode to the provinces of Canada. It's campy, nonsensical and more fun than your most fondly remembered children's song. Everyone I've played it for loves it -- and it's pretty much completely out of character for this band. Elliott Brood is a three-piece from Toronto, an alt-country act for lack of a better term. The better term, by the way, is death country as far as the band is concerned. Seriously. Their last full-length was recorded in an abandoned slaughterhouse. This one is named after Utah's Mountain Meadows massacre. You can see what I'm working against when I throw on an Elliott Brood record looking for a good time.

Darkness for alt-country bands tends to be of the heartbroken, whiskey-soaked variety. This isn't quite that. Elliott Brood takes a more western Gothic approach, only without the theatrics. While the band has no problem hitting that mark on individual songs, an album of it can seem rather lifeless. The Ambassador LP, with its melancholy atmosphere and rustic qualities, was well-composed but not really all that much fun. I'm absolutely thrilled that Mountain Meadows, title and high concept aside, seems to have turned a corner. This record is an absolute blast, finding the perfect balance between the dark, (ahem) brooding balladry and upbeat, foot-stomping bluegrass. The band's acoustic approach trades off with more heavily orchestrated rock and roll. The album opens in this way, moving from the impassioned "Fingers and Tongues" to the spry instrumental "T-Bill."

On "Write It All Down for You," lively and perfectly placed backing vocals stand testament to Elliott Brood's growth as pop songwriters. The album takes a breezy and spacious turn with "The Valley Town," which wouldn't have felt out of place on the Acorn's opus Glory Hope Mountain. "The Body" is a sprawling tune with some nicely chosen guest vocals and a haunting close. Cementing how well-structured this record is, the quiet moment's chased with the stomping, shout-along barnburner "Miss You Now."

With Mountain Meadows, Mark Sasso, Casey LaForet and drummer Steve Pitkin have created a record that completely bridges the lively Tin Type EP and the sinister depths of Ambassador. They've reintroduced a sense of life and dynamism to their work while staying true to their lyrical and thematic outlook. Their acoustic roots are in full display but their sound isn't bogged down by nostalgia or revivalism. Four songs into Mountain Meadows, Elliott Brood croons "What are you down about?" After this effort? Not a heck of a lot.

 

 
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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
TEF (October 29, 2008)

I'm glad this album got reviewed. It will more than likely end up on my top ten list by the end of the year.

ddb43 (October 28, 2008)

I like what I'm hearing on their myspace page.

trolley (October 28, 2008)

I love Elliot BROOD...be sure to check out Ambassador too. Both releases are great.

chris_yk (October 28, 2008)

such a good band, seen them live twice this year in Yellowknife and Calgary and they absolutely rocked it both times.. great cd, favourite songs are Garden River and Without Again

kidgotham (October 28, 2008)

This is a great album. The first few tracks are outstanding and really quite engergetic. They are also excellent live, both drunk or sober. The guitarist is super talented. If you get close enough to the stage you will notice that he is playing bass with his feet and guitar with his hands.

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