Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Essex Green - Cannibal Sea review

Artist: The Essex Green
Album: Cannibal Sea
Label: Merge

Rating- 6.5 to 7

Despite the name, the Essex Green don't hail from English country gardens eating cucumber sandwiches. The Elephant Six progeny come from Brooklyn via Vermont and create music from a couple of decades ago, filled with boy-girl harmonies and hints of psychedelia.

Cannibal Sea works in that the songs remind you of others. 'Snakes in the Grass' sounds like a hundred American sit-coms, 'Cardinal Points' is reminiscent of great Northern Soul and 'Rue de Lies' is vintage Simon and Garfunkel. More than any of those Cannibal Sea smacks of Belle and Sebastian. As such if you like Belle you'll probably like this. The tracks are graced with choral harmonies and countermelodies and the arrangements are dense and orchestrated. In their retro-pop fashion they don't give in to flower power but aim for something smarter. It's not groundbreaking, it's quite inoffensive but it does remind you of a lot of good records. Whether that is reason enough to buy this is another matter.

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