Ellison - Selftitled (Superb Canadian Hardrock 1971)

Jumat, 12 Oktober 2012

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The sole album recorded by Montreal band Ellison in 1971 for Trans-World Records certainly starts out promisingly enough. After some door-knocking sound effects, the opening cut, "Unchanged World," charges into a gritty blues-rock groove with pulsating bass runs and some excellent guitar work. On top of that, vocalist Vincent Marandola does a pretty respectable impersonation of Jim Morrison's later-period-Doors, with a barrelhouse blues yodel (with vaguer hints of the Felix Cavaliere and countryman John Kay) and an earth-shaking, alcohol-soaked, gravelly shout. 

At least, this is the first impression. Unfortunately, their music is unable to sustain any sort of excitability past those first few seconds, and the album quickly devolves into prosaic hard rock that lacks any subtlety, imagination, or melodic sophistication. The band may want to capture the mystical sonic assault of Crazy Horse -- and they do fill their songs with chunky rhythm guitar, minor chording, and thick, dense drum beats -- but they rarely sound like anything other than a sloppy bar-band equivalent. By the middle of the second song, "Seal a Beam Bow," -- which, incidentally, is built on a nice, jazzy barre-chord progression -- Marandola's two-note vocal limitations become apparent and begin to grate in unpleasant ways. 

Even worse, the weaknesses of the songwriting start to show themselves much more nakedly. Although the band was certainly capable of picking out the occasional nifty chord, they were unable to translate that ability into developing melodies. None of the seven original songs on Ellison could exactly be described as tuneful. Even if the band opens with a nice passage, the songs tend to inevitably descend into banal, early-'70s hard-rock clich‚s. 

Technically the band can play, but they simply do not have enough ideas for a single song, let alone an entire album. Amateurishness can conceivably be turned into an attribute, but instead of playing to their virtues, Ellison tries too often to turn the occasional interesting guitar riff, bassline, or instrumental passage into a whole song, stretching it out until the piece is nothing other than repetitive and soporific.

This great group from Montreal, Canada released their awesome self-titled LP in 1971. Great fuzzed-out guitars, echoey vocals, hard-driving drums, and fine bass guitar make this a must for early 70's pscyh rock!!

01. Unchanged World
02. Seal A Beam Bow
03. Satanic 
04. Winter Slutch
05. Strawberry Rain
06. Untruth story
07. Freedom

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