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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Matt Elliott
The Mess We Made
Merge Records

Rating: NR/10 ?


October 1, 2004
Matt Elliott is the man behind The Third Eye Foundation, among other projects, and this is his first effort under his own name. As you might expect from his previous works, The Mess We Made is unassuming, graceful, and truly personal.

Merge Records calls this newest release "a musical companion, a nonjudgmental shoulder to cry on," and so it is. From the ghostly silhouette on the cover to the stirrings of invisibly pressed piano chords on "The Dog Beneath the Skin," this dark and beautiful release turns to the spirit world to solve those unimaginable problems that lead us to sorrow. Just as a visit from a loved one's specter might aid the grieving, so does The Mess We Made seek to fill loss with the comfort of visions.

The addition of Sabine Chaouch's vocals in the title track bring balance, where two lost souls can find each other in time for a tearful departure. Much of the music is grounded in Elliott's doleful, minor-chord piano balladry, creating a lamenting pace and stark minimalism that borders the mournful emotions with shy beauty. "Cotard's Syndrome" begins like an invocation to a wake, with hearty organ beckoning tearful eyes forward towards the body. Just as this visualization can bring forth greater healing, so does the disc take a turn to distressed optimism, so that by its finish, we can again feel hopeful.

The final track, "Forty Days", basks wholly in that hardened hope, capturing the first revisiting of a gravesite, where time has passed and healing has begun. Matt Elliott's individual introduction secures his place in channeling those intermingling beginnings and ends, -- so that we might know such cathartic knowledge, and marvel at his uncanny ability to unwrap life's secrets.

Reviewed by Sarah Peters
A former music editor and staff writer for LAS, Sarah Peters recently disappeared. Perhaps one day she will surface again, who knows.

See other reviews by Sarah Peters

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