Written By: C.W. Ross
(The CD Reviewer.com
Label: Verve – Rating:
I first had the pleasure of hearing the Brooklyn-based band Elizabeth & The Catapult’s music 2 years ago when I reviewed their self-titled debut EP. It was nice to have that earlier sample of the group’s music as a base to compare against the music that’s found on their new debut LP, “Taller Children.”
As with their EP, the first thing that grabbed my attention with the group’s music was the vocals of Elizabeth Ziman. She has an almost childlike whimsy that’s found in her vocals and helps set the mood for the 12-songs that are found on “Taller Children.”
Ziman also wrote all of the songs found on the release except for, “Taller Children,” which she co-wrote with Matt Wigton and Dan Molad along with her version of the famous Leonard Cohen song, “Everybody Knows.”
Stylistically the songs found on Taller Children feature mostly a mixture of, folk, pop, and neo-jazz. Even though Elizabeth & The Catapult is officially only a three-piece trio, you’ll find an added richness in the songs found on this release thanks to the several guest musicians who have added their talents providing extra, bass, violin, and trumpet parts on the songs.
The songs found on Taller Children can be divided into two categories. The first grouping falls into the category of songs that offer up a plethora of instrumentation, along with the use of complex arrangements. The second grouping is the exact opposite of the first with very sparse instrumentation and simple song arrangements. Both styles work well together though offering up changes of tempo that keeps things from getting stale or predictable.
Some of that style diversity might come about from the way the release was recorded. While the majority of Taller Children was recorded with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, M. Ward and Rilo Kiley), several of the song performances were drawn from the homespun demos that the band recorded in drummer Danny Molad’s home studio.
Highlight tracks that grabbed my attention included the upbeat pop/jazz opening track, “Momma’s Boy,” that features a barrage of instruments and tempo changes that gives it a carnival like thrill element that involves not being able to wait to see what’s around the next musical corner.
My pick of the litter from the slower tracks is the aptly named song, “Apathy,” that features a simple, yet very well done melodic song arrangement that’s driven by its mellow piano and string parts.
With its wide variety of musical styles and eclectic mixture of song arrangements Elizabeth & the Catapult’s latest release, “Taller Children” will appeal to a wide range of listeners.
Like Elizabeth & the Catapult? You will love: Norah Jones, Inara George