Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart

Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart

3.4 7
by Rachael Yamagata

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Rachael Yamagata's voice has made numerous appearances since her solo debut in 2004: on albums by Ray LaMontagne and Rhett Miller, on TV sitcoms, on Ryan Adams & the Cardinals' acclaimed Cold Roses, and on a pair of Yamagata's own EPs. Despite such a flurry ofSee more details below


Rachael Yamagata's voice has made numerous appearances since her solo debut in 2004: on albums by Ray LaMontagne and Rhett Miller, on TV sitcoms, on Ryan Adams & the Cardinals' acclaimed Cold Roses, and on a pair of Yamagata's own EPs. Despite such a flurry of activity, however, the songwriter found herself dropped from the RCA roster after Happenstance's release, a move that prolonged the finishing of her second studio LP. Arriving in 2008 on the Warner Bros. label, Elephants...Teeth Sinking Into Heart literally splits Yamagata's musical personality into two parts -- the first disc, Elephants, pitches its tent closer to the Happenstance camp with lushly textured ballads, while Teeth Sinking Into Heart plays up the singer's debt to rock artists like PJ Harvey. The latter CD is the biggest surprise here, as it displays a swaggering confidence that wasn't as evident on Yamagata's previous releases. She raises her voice in volume and pitch, affecting a measured snarl during songs like "Sidedish Friend" and "Faster." The potent set ends with "Don't," a weary ballad that recalls Neko Case's Fox Confessor Brings the Flood and flaunts an expletive-filled refrain. While the song's lyrics are aligned with the rest of Teeth Sinking Into Heart, its sound still emphasizes Yamagata's strength as a master of slow-moving, wounded love songs. Elephant furthers that bittersweet style with ten songs (one of them hidden), effectively doubling the size of Teeth. The disc features a gorgeous cameo by Ray LaMontagne, whose Southern croon does a slow dance with Yamagata on the aptly named "Duet." Like LaMontagne's most intimate material, Elephant moves in quiet circles, mining Yamagata's heartbroken past for melodic effect while dressing up her songs in layers of strings, woodwinds, and acoustic instruments. This is where her voice truly shines -- even when it seemingly hides from the spotlight, reducing itself to a cracked whisper while delivering Yamagata's lyrics. Fittingly, she matches such strong songcraft with equally strong content. "So for those of you falling in love," she advises during the first disc's title track, "keep it kind, keep it good, keep it right. Throw yourself in the midst of danger, but keep one eye open at night." Spoken like a true veteran of solitude and heartbreak, and performed like one of the strongest songwriters to emerge during the early 21st century.

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Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly
Amid all the moroseness are some standouts, including ''Elephants,'' which belongs in the canon of great spurned-lover songs. [B-]

Product Details

Release Date:
Warner Bros / Wea

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Rachael Yamagata   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Piano,Glockenspiel,Vocals
Kevin Salem   Acoustic Guitar,Dobro,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,Tack Piano
Peck Allmond   Flute
Robert Carlisle   French Horn
Jennifer Condos   Bass,Bass Guitar
Marilyn Coyne   Oboe
Davey Faragher   Bass,Bass Guitar
Mark Goldenberg   Electric Guitar
Ray LaMontagne   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals,Guest Appearance
Lorenza Ponce   Violin
Tracy Sands   Cello
John Alagia   Acoustic Guitar,Bass
Jay Bellerose   Drums
Christopher Cardona   Viola
Jane Scarpantoni   Cello
Matthew Cullen   Gong
Antoine Silverman   Violin,Concert Master
Oliver Kraus   Violin,Cello
Sean O'Keefe   Drums
Dan Carlisle   Bass
Kimberly Salistean   Violin
Peter Donovan   Double Bass
Mike Mogis   Organ,Acoustic Guitar,Percussion,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Moog Synthesizer,Wurlitzer
Maria Taylor   Background Vocals,Guest Appearance
James Valentine   Electric Guitar,Guest Appearance
Than Luu   Percussion,Conga,Drums
Cameron McGill   Piano,Electric Guitar
Jason Boesel   Drums
Daniel Clarke   fender rhodes
Catherine Popper   Upright Bass
Michael Chavez   Electric Guitar
Mike Bloom   Dobro,Electric Guitar
Donna Carnes   Violin
Joshua Grange   Electric Guitar
Cynthia Ricker   Viola
Nate Cambell   Marimbas
Becky Doe   Violin,Soloist
Chris Giraldi   Drums
Owen Kotler   Clarinet
Nebraska Quartet   String Quartet
Nebraska String Quartet   String Quartet
Donna Carnes   Violin
Cynthia Ricker   Viola
Jon O'Reilly   Drums
Becky Doe   Violin
Owen Kotler   Clarinet
Chris Giraldi   Drums

Technical Credits

Mark McKenna   Engineer
Brian Scheuble   Engineer
John Alagia   Producer,Audio Production
Matthew Cullen   Engineer
Jon Altschiller   Engineer,Audio Production
Oliver Kraus   Arranger,String Arrangements
Sean O'Keefe   Engineer,Drum Engineering,Piano Engineer
Paul Durham   Composer
Mike Mogis   Producer,Audio Production
Nate Walcott   Arranger,Horn Arrangements,String Arrangements,Woodwind Arrangement
Rachael Yamagata   Arranger,Composer
NY Strings   String Section
Chris Harden   Engineer
Brian Cockburn Smith   Engineer,Guitar Engineer,Instrument Technician
Becky Doe   String Arrangements
Becky Doe   Arranger

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