Leaving on a High Note

Photorecording (Revelation Records)


By John Bohannon

With Louisville's Elliott, the term "emo" got thrown around quite often when describing this band. Honestly, I think that is one of the most far off descriptions of a band I have heard in some time now. This band over the span of its career meshed just about every rock element into one, melding a plethora of emotions into one driving stage presence. The idea of the band's latest and final effort, Photorecording (although the album was released in 05', it was recorded in December 2003 towards the end of the band's career), was to capture that live energy in the studio.

Some of the tracks from previous releases get a facelift throughout Photorecording, such as "Blessed By Your Own Ghost" and "Drive Onto Me," and this is actually one of the reasons people would come out and see them so often. I couldn't think of a more perfect closer to a band's last album than the instrumental, emotion-pumping "Intro to False Cathedrals." The almost techno-downbeat version of "Drive Onto Me," which on this album is tabbed as "Drive," also shows the band's diverse musical abilities. Having a blend of everything from Sunny Day Real Estate to the dark days of the Cure, Elliott had something in their short stint that most bands won't achieve in a lifetime: Every time you went to an Elliott show you saw something new, unlike a lot of touring bands out there today that just play exact representations of the album. That's not what people paid to see with Elliott and shouldn't be what people pay to see with any band.

It's apparent throughout this album how much this band rehearsed. Elliott's sound is immaculate - a rewarding payoff to all that rehearsal. Either that or they are just that damn good. Front man Chris Higdon's tragic, smooth, yet emotional vocals couldn't sound any better as they are just as much an instrument of these recordings as the instruments themselves. The guitar-driven sound possesses an airy feel of ambience to create the perfect indie rock landscape - one of pure beauty.

The DVD that accompanies this album is just as evocative as Higdon's vocal qualities - showing the last days of the band in their prime. Watching some of the footage on the documentary will forever convince me that this band will go on as one of the most underrated bands of the past 10 years. Although I only got to see them play twice in their career, it was enough to have me convinced. There truly are very few bands these days that can make both studio records and pull the live show off even better. Louisville's Elliott was one of those bands.

Learn more over at www.revelationrecords.com.