Saturday, July 11, 2020
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Elwood Emission: Ode to the Ego

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Artist: Elwood Emission (@)
Title: Ode to the Ego
Format: Download Only (MP3 + Lossless)
Distributor: iTunes
Rated: *****
Here’s another release I should have gotten about six months ago. Elwood Emission is one Lucy Kalantari from Brooklyn, NY. Her initial release under the Elwood Emission moniker is a 6-track EP (digital download only) by the title of Ode to the Ego. Lucy describes her music as "Pat Benatar & Trent Reznor’s love-child, but that seems a bit aggrandizing and not quite on the mark to me. There’s no doubt it does have an industrial flavor, but at the heart of it is a singer-songwriter with a more mainstream background; think Alanis Morrisette, Fiona Apple, Sarah McLachlan, Amy Lee of Evanescence, et al. In fact, Lucy had an "adult contemporary" project called Luciar a while back and I heard a few snippets from that project’s Rules of the Game’ 2000 release, and it was pretty good. If it had gotten the right promotion behind it, it might have really gone somewhere. So the question is, what does a woman from Brooklyn with a lot of musical experience bring to the goth-industrial world? Well, for one thing, a great voice, and some talented songwriting when she really wants to strut her stuff. Her production skills aren’t bad either, for a boudoir studio’.

So, what of the songs? Track 1, "The Invitation" is a throwaway. The amateurish ukulele plunking makes it seem like it’s going to be a bizzaro indie folk album in spite of the emotive vocals. Things change rapidly on "Other," the best track on the album with a killer hook, a quirky electronic arrangement and strong vocals. "Run" pays some homage to NIN’s "That’s What I Get" (Pretty Hate Machine) in its pacing and dramatic building, but is actually a better song. Things heat up and the claws come out on "Despicable". With venomous chorus lyrics "You’re a waste of my time, you’re a waste of life supreme, you’re just a good for nothin’ fucker causin’ nothing but grief... " you wouldn’t expect from a girl who once had a band in the Dominican Republic called Teen Rock. Oh well, our past often comes back to haunt us, but Lucy isn’t denying her roots. She’s just moved well beyond them.

"Stillness" is a four minute instrumental piano composition, with a tone-drone background and a sample & hold synth. It’s sort of atmospheric, and might have been okay as filler on a full length release but is a bit of a letdown on a short EP. "Divine" is a decent enough dramatic piano-based song, but seems out of place with the heart of the material, the three songs in the middle. Kind of Kate Bush-like in flavor.

This EP leaves me wanting more- more good material like "Other," "Run," and "Despicable". The good thing is, since it’s available in digital download only, you don’t have to buy the whole CD, just individual songs if you like. Those three are good enough to purchase. It’s tough for an artist to cross genre territories but if Lucy continues with the Elwood Emission project and records more material like the three songs previously mentioned, I think she’ll be getting the recognition she may well deserve. A top-notch producer and a backer with a sack full of green wouldn’t hurt either.

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