So Very Dark and Gothic You Shouldn’t Listen Alone.
I often get asked why I make such a big deal about opening songs in my reviews; and I respond by saying that most people haven’t heard of most of the acts on these pages, so that song can be a deal breaker as to whether you will like the album.
If , like me you you ‘get’ I’ll Fly Away you are in for a rare treat; but if, like Mother Magpie you raise your eyebrows and walk out of the room muttering you may as well turn to another page right now!
Elouise are a loose collaboration of LA musicians who have come together because of their love of ‘Blackgrass’ and a better name I couldn’t have invented myself.
The atmospheric intro to I’ll Fly Away could come from a Peckinpah Western and when Elouise Walker’s world weary voice crawls from the speakers I was instantly hooked. The melody somehow blends Delta Blues with a Scottish Presbyterian Dirge and is quite wonderful!
If you are still with us by track #3 Saturn Bar, you are in for another rare treat. It opens with the sound of beer being poured then a funereal New Orleans style Jazz band slowly caress Elouise’s sultry voice on a gorgeously brooding tale of a seedy bar in the 9th Ward.
It’s a similar ‘feeling’ on Oh Lord! with Rich Dembowski joining her on lead vocals as the band pump it up like a church organ on a hot Sunday morning.
Oh my, oh my oh my……the track Evil is just a cello and double bass so low on the register your teeth will shake and a more fitting title there isn’t.
There are two cover versions here and Elouise’s dirty reconstruction of Amazing Grace will stay with you for a long, long time….I know it has me; and who the Hell would ever expect a low down Delta interpretation of Silent Night that will make this Christmas Carol never sound the same for you…ever? I absolutely love both songs btw.
This isn’t really the type of album that will transfer to the radio or the mainstream but Rich Dembowski’s crooning on the misogynistic love story I’ll Be Good To You could scrape into one of those cool late at night shows that only the cool kids know about.
I genuinely love this album; especially the dark Blues of Black Horses; with Elouise recounting her father’s terminal illness over another funereal tune that harks back to the days when Bessie Smith was the Queen of the Blues.
This album certainly isn’t for everyone, as Mother Magpie will testify; but if you spotted the monochrome cover in a record store and picked it up; you certainly wouldn’t be disappointed by the contents.
Released July 15th 2016