Now that we’ve delved into the 80’s (I’ve never been a huge fan of the 1980’s era of music and prefer to let as much erase itself from my memory as possible), it’s time to bring it back to something, well, a little more current like the newest release from Elliott BROOD, ‘Work and Love‘ which has also just been nominated for a Juno for Roots Traditional Album of the Year.
Released just this past October, I purchased a copy of the limited edition tri-color vinyl album from the Paper Bag Records website almost immediately. I knew it was a “must have” for the collection. Elliott Brood is basically Canada’s DIY success story. Ever since hand-crafting the artwork for their first self-released album, ‘Tin Type’ (of which, I own the original 8″ CD), the Hamilton-via-Toronto-via-Windsor gritty “death-folk” outfit have done things their own way. And most often within a fairly tight camp. However on this, their 5th album, the trio decided to open things up in the studio, and for the first time hired an outside producer, Ian Blurton of Rheostatics fame. The band also welcome a few guests this time around including Aaron Goldstein (pedal steel), John Dinsmore (bass) and Michael Lewis Johnson (trumpet and flugelhorn).
I’ve been sitting on this album for while as I wanted my first experience with these new songs to be live when Kelly and I went to see them perform along with the The Wilderness of Manitoba last month at Mills Hardware in Hamilton, Ontario. While I will confess that I REALLY enjoyed the Wilderness of Manitoba’s set, the new songs I heard from album were really good too. From Casey Laforet’s wistful sentiments on the powerful opening waltz ‘Little Ones‘ to Mark Sasso’s epic Depeche Mode meets The Sadies meets mariachi ‘Mission Bells‘, this is the sound of artists at the treacherous crossroads of middle age looking both forward and back; not that I have any idea what that feels like mind you. Other tracks probe feelings of fatigue (‘Tired‘) and loneliness (‘Nothing Left‘). Again, I would nothing about that being the hap-hap-happy bugger I am.
>>Insert sincerest smiley face here<<
The album is every bit as good as I had hoped it would be after hearing the tunes performed live. It represents a band that is still maturing and growing and consistently faced with reconnecting with it’s fan base, myself included.