If you don't like Elliott already, this probably won't make you like them any more. In fact, it will probably give you another reason to hate them or bust out such tired scene phrases as "snorecore" and other witty metaphors for sleep.
That being said, this is a good album.
I was a fan of U.S. Songs, and never got into the cult around Song in the Air. False Cathedrals, in my opinion, is by far the band's strongest record. This retrospective takes the best of each album and sort of ties it all together through production, making once epic songs even greater, fuller, and right where they should be (most of the time).
First, the negative parts:
- I don't like the final track being "Intro to False Cathedrals," because if you happen to have False Cathedrals on next, then, well, you listen to a third of the song you just listened to all over again. It would have been a much better intro to the entire album, as the entire album is almost a re-introduction to songs Elliott fans already know. It's just awkward.
- Elliott does well with instrumentals. I enjoy the few that have decorated their albums, but it was a mistake to put three in a row. Maybe end with "This Program is Not Responding," intro with "Intro..." and put "Leona" somewhere between the dense plethora of lengthy but vocally-driven tracks in the middle.
- "Drive Onto Me" was always my least favorite song on False Cathedrals, and I find myself liking it even less here with the happy-go-lucky drums and more upbeat guitar. I would have preferred an alternate of "Lie Close" or "Speed of Film," but you can't control what a band has recorded in the past.
Well, actually, it's everything else. I got a little bit of slack for my review of Coheed and Cambria's latest, and how long songs can still be good. Well, they can, and Elliott shows you they can be. They have the lengthy guitar solos here, they have the four-minute melodies, but they do it the way musicians do: They build tension, they play with time, they tease your ears and instead of always going the predictable route, they make you pay attention.
The production on this is also extremely well done. The songs all meld together well, even in their new sequence, and some of the new note choices on "Calm Americans" (specifically with the piano) really give the song the intensity that the lyrics call for (as a sidenote, for those who think music like this isn't punk rock, read up on the lyrics for that song sometime).
But, as I said, a lot of people don't like this band because they aren't super fast, they're not edgy or screamy. But they were really good at what they did, and this collection is an absolutely amazing display of what music has lost. Points lost for decisions on track sequencing, but other than that, if you liked Elliott, you won't be disappointed.