Album Review: Elise-Hall Meyer - Dinosaurs

Now, this little EP is a rather pleasant surprise.

This quirky Calgary songstress pieces together a graciously enchanting collection of blues and pop inspired folk tunes. Despite availing a mostly traditional tapestry of sound, this recording keeps me interested with an appealing medley of idiosyncratic rhythms. All of the customary Americana elements are present; simple instrumentation, high-mountain harmonies, and sweeping melodies with a delicate rustic charm. What gives the sound of the album such a distinctive tone is some of the more audacious selection of grooves to complement the avid songwriting. Eschewing some of the more classic country-folk strumming patterns, Meyer creates her songs built around more syncopated type rhythms that still manage to highlight the songs more fundamental appeal.

"Dun Sum Bad" is a strong opening song, and paints an Appalachian landscape that recalls Gillian Welch. "Dinosaur" ventures into more bluesy territory, but with a slight contemporary vibe. The lyrics and melody are somewhat dark and sinister, but not without a deeply infectious chorus. "The Wisest One" carries an upbeat, barre-chorded rock groove, but with some delicate vocal harmonies to maintain its rural essence. "Captured Completely" relies on a staccato Tom Petty type rhythm, but still retains a quiet, plaintive tone and a sweeping chorus. The fifth and final track, "Papa 4 Blocks" features the record’s one true curve ball. This is a dark and ominous slow-burner with some vague hints of New Orleans jazz. I found this to be somewhat awkward at first, but this song grew on me with a few more listens.

Meyer’s voice is a little rough around the edges, and there are some moments where it wanders a bit off pitch. Although this is somewhat of a detriment in places, small redemption comes by the fact that it kind of contributes to the quirky character of the songs. The production is very sparse, as is much of the instrumentation. However, this proves to be an entirely appropriate approach for this showcase in simple and effective songwriting, complete with deep character and vivid lyricism. The stylistic qualities foster a very straight-forward rhythmic approach that is reminiscent of Aimee Mann. Although the overall concept leans heavily on all of the traditional sonic devices, the song structures carry a modernistic spirit, and are interpolated with a natural pop sensibility.

- Mark Laffin


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love the songs, love the rythm, love the catchy chorus from Dinosaurs and Dum Sum Bad.
Hope to hear more form them.
Absolutelly Fantastic!