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NY's Essex Green has present and former members of Guppyboy and The Ladybug Transistor. This is their second full-length and Merge debut. Songs soar on billowy clouds of organ and flute, or rock with an infectious, catchy beat. Music that conjures time and place.
This group's area code may suggest an ordinary Brooklyn address, but its spiritual home is harder to place. On "Old Dominion," the trio visits the pastoral California coast to indulge in some bright harmonizing in the style of the Mamas & the Papas; "The Late Great Cassiopia" takes a jaunty stroll through the Kinks' tree-lined London streets; and the misleadingly titled closing track, "Berlin," actually signals a summer spent in Baja, with its leisurely verses and light touches of Latin percussion recalling the naïve baroque pop of the Association. Maybe it's not so much a question of place as time. The follow-up to the group's ambitious 1999 debut, Everything Is Green, is a diverse and engaging work, expanding on the delicate psychedelic touches of its predecessor while updating the Essex Green's vivid '60s influenced pastiche. The Long Goodbye is all over the map and it's wonderful. --Aidin Vaziri
Top Customer Reviews
Songs like "Lazy May" wouldn't sound out of place on a country-rock album, with the drawling vocals and banjo riffs. The slower songs like "Julia" follow the same formula in a more balladic way, but have touches of psychedelic pop, with echoing backing vocals and a swelling melody.
Other songs have a softer, less grounded sound, like the airy pop of "Chartiers" and the oddball sound of "The Boo Hoo Boy," which has a dash of psychedelic folk flair. "The Late Great Cassopeia" is perhaps the highlight, perfectly balancing the bright quickness of Essex Green's pop with a driving guitar rhythm.
"Long Goodbye" isn't really a continuation of "Everything is Green" -- it's basically a different album that has a few musical flourishes in common. And this album harkens back to their earlier country-flavored work in Sixth Great Lake and Guppyboy, but it doesn't really fit them in this guise.
The main flaw is that the alt-country sound is mixed in with psychedelic flourishes -- something that might work for some bands, but it sounds awkward and contrived here. It also lacks the sunniness and prettiness, in favor of a grittier, more stripped-down sound. In other words, no discernable Vox organ or fuzz guitar.
Musically, it's actually pretty good -- the guitar riffs are fairly solid, occasionally a bit monotonous but overall quite solid. The occasional flicks of chimes add a more ethereal touch to it, as do the soft flute melodies.Read more ›
Whatever I thought about the show, the CD has long since eclipsed it. I agree with other reviewers that every song on the CD is a quality listen. Even the ones I didn't particularly like at first (e.g. Southern States) I still find stuck in my head and I have come to appreciate. Our Lady of Havana has become one of my favorite songs. Lazy May and the Late Great Cassiopia are fantastically fun. Old Dominion is one of those tunes that can get stuck in your head for a week at a time. Berlin could get stuck there for 6 months. I have come to love this album so much that I had a dream recently where I kissed Sasha Bell in gratitude. Seriously. I buy a lot of music, from the highly commercial to the obscure. This is my favorite album of 2003.
I give this album 4 stars instead of 5 because while it is musically dy-no-mite, the content of the lyrics is not profound. Don't get me wrong, there are some very clever turns of phrase and some excellent lines. Sasha writes some lyrics that can really tug at your heart as well. But overall I don't come away inspired to be a better person or start a revolution or anything of that magnitude. That's what it takes to get 5 stars out of me. Call me picky. Nonetheless, this is a fabulous album that everybody should buy. It makes a great gift, too -- a little bundle of joy in a plastic case. Viva la Green!
This is my first written review on Amazon - I'm picky and don't like to write - I buy alot of music - recently that's included Iron and Wine, Damien Jurado, Dolly Varden, Low, Ladybug Transistor, Andrew WK (ok, so that pushes my taste a bit - but what collection is complete without 1 stoner-rock release?), Stereolab, Broken Social Scene, Pretty Girls Make Graves - I could go on, but I figure this gives you and idea of whether you might like this release based on you liking any of these other artists.
I'm a 47 year old psychologist with a love for melody - that has to drive the music even more than the lyrics or style.
Back to Essex Green - I saw them in Grand Rapids, MI - very good, what I liked most was the way they were into the music, despite the very small crowd (I think it was a Tuesday night).
A couple more comments - the review on All Music Guide said Sasha had the best voice in the band "by far". And her voice is really nice and distinctive. I'm probably even more partial to female vocalists. (The first Goldfrapp release was easily my favorite of 2000-2001.) But Chris' voice is just as good and just as distinctive. You hear voices like these and realize how hard it is to sound unique - you have it or you don't - not alot you can do with that part...
What's so impressive is the, on the one hand, simple pleasant music, but on repeated listens, the variety in the songs themselves and the structure of the melodies.
There is REAL TALENT here.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
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. Read morePublished on July 15 2003 by junkmedia
It's obvious these guys don't give a [dang] about anything going on today. And that's a good thing. This is a great record that keeps growing on you the more you listen to it. Read morePublished on April 21 2003 by denverwannabe