A Nice Ear-Bruising

If They Do (Initial Records)


By Victoria Moon

Elliott - If They Do

I admit it: I'm getting old. I, who just a few short years ago stomped around in combat boots, ripped T-shirts and more black clothing than Morticia Adams, glorying in my coal-black shaved head and counting the number of normal-looking people I could send scurrying to the other side of the street. I grew up on The Ramones, The Clash, Fishbone and Iggy Pop, listening to indie before indie was cool. The truth is, the last indie concert I attended I found myself wincing at the ineptitude of the guitarist who still clung to the adage that mistakes can sound better if they're turned to eleven. I even found myself thinking—just for a moment—that this whole concert was pretty darned loud, and I wondered if these kids knew what they're doing to they're hearing.

All this, of course, is to explain why I felt I might not be the best one to do an Elliott review—perhaps my age was making me a differently abled critic, more into jazz, power pop and my old classic punk albums than the cutting-edge of Elliott. I dropped the disc into my player with some trepidation, and within minutes found myself cranking up the stereo.

If They Do is richly emotional, dark and lush, an introspective scream. Elliott has always benefited from a massively talented front man in Chris Higdon, who can move from sweetly quiet to passionate rage in a heartbeat. If They Do is pure mood music, drawing you in and pulling you down. It's like bottled angst, only sweeter, and listening in the dark would be highly recommended. It's hard to pull out select songs and look at them apart from the whole, because it flows together too cohesively for that. The lyrics are vague and mysterious, and trying to dig pure meaning out of them just gives you a headache. This album was made to be felt. Not dissected.

My biggest complaint with the disc would be it's too short (6 songs), and that's a darn good complaint, when you think about it. On the whole, this is gorgeously loud, thick rock that, like a really good massage, can leave you feeling slightly bruised but desperate for more.