Saturday, December 26, 2015

Elliott: False Cathedrals [2000] — Album Review

Chris Higdon: Vocals, Guitar
Jay Palumbo: Guitar
Jonathan Mobley: Bass
Kevin Ratterman: Drums, Piano
Produced by Tobias Miller

1. Voices – 1:07
2. Calm Americans – 4:25
3. Blessed by Your Own Ghost – 5:01
4. Drive on to Me – 3:27
5. Calvary Song – 5:14
6. Lipstick Stigmata – 4:50
7. Dying Midwestern – 5:28
8. Shallow Like Your Breath – 4:30
9. Superstitions in Travel – 4:12
10. Carving Oswego – 4:30
11. Lie Close – 3:51
12. Speed of Film – 4:35
Total Runtime: 51:04

First, Merry Christmas everyone! And if you don't celebrate Christmas, then Happy Haunnakah, Happy Holidays, etc. I hope everyone's having a great holiday season. Now onto the review!
Elliott is one of the most criminally overlooked bands of all time, if not the most. And their second album, False Cathedrals is the best emo album of all time. Better than Clarity, better than Something to Write Home About, better than Through Being Cool, better than Pinkerton. False Cathedrals is a straight masterpiece. Anyway, enough gushing. Time for the review.
False Cathedrals opens with "Voices", a minute-long track of the sounds of people in a cathedral, with some piano in there. "Voices" bleeds into "Calm Americans", which is honestly one of the best songs ever written. Chris Higdon's voice is absolutely perfect. The keys, they're perfect. The guitars? Perfect too. There is nothing flawed about "Calm Americans". It transitions into "Blessed by Your Own Ghost", which is probably the weakest song on the record, but that's not saying much. Again, Higdon's voice is stellar.
Next is "Drive on to Me", another excellent song. More pop-punky than Elliott is used to, but amazing nonetheless.
"Calvary Song", which is one of the first Elliott songs I'd heard (the version on Songs in a Transit Wind), and it's got some stellar lyrics and vocalism, and again the instruments just mesh so well.
"Lipstick Stigmata", "Dying Midwestern", and "Shallow Like Your Breath" are all classics, and make a strong middle section for the record. "Superstitions in Travel" is a great song, Higdon trying something new with the vocals.
"Carving Oswego" (pronounced ahs•wē•gō) again has stellar lyrics and some epic guitar work. "Lie Close" does some experimenting with the guitar sound, and it sounds awesome. Probably my favorite song on FC.
And we close with "Speed of Film", an amazing closer and great song in general.
Overall, False Cathedrals hits every mark it aims for, and all of Elliott should be proud. It's honestly saddening that Elliott broke up in 2004, because I've heard from many people across the internet that their live shows were the best way to experience the band. Chris Higdon, if you're reading this, please release another album with Frontier(s) or get Elliott back together. I'm sure there are plenty of people willing to help Elliott with a reunion tour.

Voices: 10/10
Calm Americans: 10/10
Blessed by Your Own Ghost: 9/10
Drive onto Me: 10/10
Calvary Song: 10/10
Lipstick Stigmata: 9/10
Dying Midwestern: 10/10
Shallow Like Your Breath: 9/10
Superstitions in Travel: 10/10
Carving Oswego: 10/10
Lie Close: 10/10
Speed of Film: 10/10

Subtotal: 117/120
Bonus Points:
A+ Guitar Work: +2
Total: 119/120
Score: 9.9 Near-Perfect

Genres: Emo, Indie Rock, Alternative

Last Review: The Heart is a Monster by Failure
Next Week's Review: Unravelling by We Were Promised Jetpacks
Next Elliott Review: U.S. Songs

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