CD REVIEW: Elliott Brood - Ambassador
By Francesco Emmanuel - 11/18/2005 - 11:29 AM EST
Artist: Elliott Brood
Ambassador is the second effort by Elliott Brood, their freshman release Tin Type, 2003 was issued under the Weewerk label. The group is now with Six Shooter records. Brood comprises of just three roaming storytellers, Mark Sasso, Casey Laforet and Stephen Pitkin.
Inside the album jacket is a train ticket, valid only one way though, perhaps the listener is not meant to return to his/her previous destination after getting involved with Brood.
The credits are listed on a project worksheet for a bridge, and typed on what seems to be an ancient typewriter, rather creative. On the opposite side there's scratched out lyrics, again typewritten.
Also included here, is a 'souvenir' card from Elliott, a black and white photo on the front, resembling the old western times, shows three guys and their suitcases. It gives a lil background information into the album's reckoning, recorded in the dead of winter, over three days and nights, in an abandoned abbattoir. The trio don't hesitate in mentioning that suitcases, a basement stairwell full of echoes and broken down work vans also helped the album come to life.
The Brood boys play simple two-chord structured country and western songs. The only instruments here are guitar, piano, lap-steel, drums and banjo; no mention of bass guitar at all. The banjo really stands out throughout the record. However, there's no crooner with a twang (something one might expect with a country record), in fact the singer has a raspy voice. Maybe that's how it was in those days.
It is a very basic album, no fancy tricks, no crazy effects, no ridiculous overdubs, for all we know the entire thing might've been recorded live, all in one take.
There's not much variation between songs, most have a similiar laid-back, rustic feeling. For that matter most songs blend into one another, the album does have a good flow.
Imagine sitting back in a hammock outside the old corale, smoking a good pipe, your hat covering the gleaming sun from your face, and you have the theme for Ambassador.
Inside your living room, a simple song filled with banjo plays on; outside your room, a storm cloud in an old western town is brooding.
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