Lights from the Chemical Plant [180g Vinyl]

Lights from the Chemical Plant [180g Vinyl]

by Robert Ellis
     
 

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Since New West released Photographs in 2011, Robert Ellis' reputation has spread internationally. These days he plays European festivals as well as Texas honky tonks. He moved to Nashville from Houston in 2012. Given the growth in his songwriting since his first two albums, The Lights from the Chemical Plant was the rightSee more details below

Overview

Since New West released Photographs in 2011, Robert Ellis' reputation has spread internationally. These days he plays European festivals as well as Texas honky tonks. He moved to Nashville from Houston in 2012. Given the growth in his songwriting since his first two albums, The Lights from the Chemical Plant was the right choice. The album is exquisitely produced and mixed by Jacquire King. It's polished but far from slick. King illustrates Ellis' elusive yet evocative songs in a manner that fans will easily accept, but expands their sonic reach in a manner that should appeal outside the country and Americana genres. While embracing the sounds of Nashville's and Americana's pasts, Ellis looks forward, making use of rock and pop wherever it makes sense but never relying on them. "TV Song" may be a novelty, but it recalls the cleverness of Roger Miller and Tom T. Hall. "Chemical Pant" is a narrative about young lovers who remain together as life changes around them, though there is no escaping death. Electric guitars, tom-toms, and strings make the tune nearly cinematic, but it never goes over the edge. The melody in "Steady as the Rising Sun" suggests Harlan Howard and Cindy Walker. A tender yet almost melancholy love song, its syncopated backbeat is an excellent quirk as its steel whines above strings, the taut rhythm section, and backing chorus by Dawes' Goldsmith Brothers. "Bottle of Wine" paraphrases Billy Joel's "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant." Accompanied by a reverbed, slightly out of tune piano, the protagonist is conversing with himself in an empty room with only his beverage and a bag of cocaine. Paul Simon's "Still Crazy After All These Years" is poignantly and darkly rendered with a killer guitar break. "Pride," "Only Lies," and "Houston" (the last with a knotty, screaming, extended prog rock outro) make use of country and blues in the same way Danny O'Keefe did on his first two albums: tangentially, though they remain in view. (Ellis' voice also bears a striking resemblance to O'Keefe's.) Narratively, they paint haunted silhouettes of emptiness, loneliness, and desolation. "Sing Along" is burning bluegrass played by an electric honky tonk band -- with banjo. On the sparse closer, "Tour Song," the protagonist (a traveling musician) confesses paranoia and fear while speculating about his wife's possible infidelity, yet he's resigned to his chosen profession and deals with his suspicions by way of nightly oblivion. The Lights from the Chemical Plant is an inspired, adventurous record made by an artist who cares deeply for tradition, but refuses to be bound by it. [Lights from the Chemical Plant was also released on LP.]

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Product Details

Release Date:
02/25/2014
Label:
New West Records
UPC:
0607396508211
catalogNumber:
5082
Rank:
157175

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. TV Song  - Robert Ellis
  2. Chemical Plant  - Robert Ellis
  3. Good Intentions  - Robert Ellis
  4. Steady As the Rising Sun  - Robert Ellis
  5. Bottle of Wine  - Robert Ellis
  6. Still Crazy After All These Years  - Robert Ellis
  7. Pride  - Robert Ellis
  8. Only Lies  - Robert Ellis
  9. Houston  - Robert Ellis
  10. Sing Along  - Robert Ellis
  11. Tour Song  - Robert Ellis

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