Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Elysian Fields and Their Thoughtful New Album "The Afterlife"

Elysian Fields is a group for a post-post-post world, for everything that comes after everything that went before. Very young people (like still in high school) don’t quite understand that world. It’s the nature of youth not to feel the weight of the recent past. And that’s good for them. For the rest of us, there is this music for us to savor.

The latest album by Elysian Fields, The Afterlife, has all the charm of their previous efforts, only there is a quieter, more reflective stock-taking in the lyrics and the music has that suspended on the edge of another epoch feel to it.

The group is Jennifer Charles on inimitable vocals and Oren Bloedow on guitars, with a solid cast of others. This is not heavy music in terms of edgy weight, thought it does have some push when needed. It is indie art song, if you pardon the phrase. It’s the darker side of life and love (and death), without dwelling on the obvious of what that means. The lyrics are thoughtful and poetic and the delivery by Ms. Charles puts the whole thing in the class of world-class dream. I dream you dream we all dream for. . . what? Elysian Fields tries to grasp that elusive feeling that is complex and ineffable, the post-post life out there to live, after what has gone from us remains only in memory.

Musically the songs are quite strong and have originally written all over (and under) them. The arrangements are very well-honed. Jennifer is in a vocal world that she owns; nobody quite has her quality. Super laid-back, impeccable phrasing and a dead-on pitch center that she has the ears and skill to play around with. This music triumphs! The album is out in a good vinyl edition and I’m sure also as a download. Their site www.elysianmusic.com has details.

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