Elfin Saddle - Ringing for the Begin Again
Record Label: Constellation
Release Date: May 19th, 2009
"She was driven at first, by her aching lungs, and increasing thirst."
As the low rumbles of orchestral tuning enter the atmosphere, Jordan McKenzie mumbles the introduction of a somber story worthy of an Upton Sinclair novel. As this hymn to the destitute transcends to a pensive and haunting tune it begins to encompass the emotive abstracts of an internal struggle. Though each song on the album contains similar properties, many of them are more subjective, as they are sung in Japanese. "Sakura," "Running Sheep," and others would be entirely interperative if not for the translations found in the liner notes. Upon reading through the poetic writings it is easily determined that this is a rare instance where the integrity of the lyrics match that of the music, and is done so at a level that reaches for absolute perfection. "The Bringer" introduces this notion, "Hammer Song" shows the idealistic side of it, and "The Ocean" offers closure.
"I will pull out all the nails, I will make the structure weak."
This lyric speaks not only to the narrative of the song, but the potential of the band's might. While Time magazine heralds the culture ushered in by former celebrities through gross exploitation, Elfin Saddle does so by recounting musical heritage, archaic instrumentation, and folk songwriting. Through their tense and mournful timepieces, a delicate montage is born. Ringing for the Begin Again ascends beyond the limits of the prefabricated record and latches onto a variety of cultures and periods to create a landscape of impressionistic conceptualism. Ethereal chants, brooding intensity, and figurative lyrics enchant the ears while enlightening the mind. In the end, the downtrodden words of Emi Honda leave the listener with the question that summarizes the destitution:
"Where did the waves go? Where did the ocean go? Where did the tides go? Where did you all go?"