The Essex Green was one of the last bands to nibble on the blades of grass that came with the Elephant 6 Recording Company's stamp of approval. However, it was not long after that when the once fertile landscape turned harsh for even the most peripheral of E6 associates. Under the glare of so many critical lights and a cresting wave of backlash, the Essex Green and much of the E6 posse went underground. Here the Green resurface with The Long Goodbye to say hello again.
And for the most part, little has changed. The band, less psychedelic than most of the E6 fold, continues to play wholesome sounding MOR ripped from the '70s, complete with its golden-haired charms and occasional dips in orchestral cheese. Sasha Bell, who also is a member of the Ladybug Transistor, sings with a honeyed voice that rings out pure and true on the bulk of these 12 tracks. Her breezy vocals on songs like "By The Sea" and "Our Lady In Havana" make for enchanting, timeless pop.
Unfortunately the band sometimes overdoes the sweetness and ends up being too precious. "Julia," a wispy flute laced laze in the shade is but one example of the band crossing this threshold.
The overall vibe of this album in akin to the old Coke commercial where cheery faces try to "teach the world to sing" on a mountainside under dappled sunlight. As much as one may have snickered, it was hard not to be secretly uplifted by the sincerity and innocence of such sentiments. The Long Goodbye is likely to do the same for you if given half the chance.