Time’s a-wasting, a saying that fits Matt Elliott well if you ask me. For starters, Elliott is the kind of musician that’s been with us for quite some time now. His track record goes back to the mid-nineties in which he was part of Linda’s Strange Vacation. In the beginning of this century he began releasing albums under his own name and was on a high in the period of his ‘Songs’ Trilogy (2004-2009). When I say time’s a-wasting, I’m also referring to the length and drawn out instrumentation of his work. Those who listen to Elliott are usually pulled into his world full of gloominess and wake from it about a hour later. I for one am just stepping out of the half light of his 2012 release, The Broken Man. However a new state of limbo already awaits me for a few weeks ago he released his sixteenth work with the tombstoner title: Only Myocardial Infarction Can Break Your Heart. On The Broken Man he promised us more pain and by the looks of it there’s no escaping it. Bring it on.
The standard edition of Only Myocardial Infarction Can Break Your Heart counts seven tracks and has a playtime of about fifty minutes. Fans can also purchase a special edition of the album that comes with two extra tracks Elliott recorded under his alias The Third Eye Foundation. Those who are familiar with Elliott know that all his albums are darkly graced with some obscure song titles. This is not different now. ‘Reap What You Sow’ and ‘Prepare for Disappointment’ serve as nice tone setting examples. Yet the bonus track, ‘All of Our Leaders Are Sociopathic, Criminal Monsters Who Should Be Locked Away Far from Any Kind of Power for the Good of All Humanity’, tops everything and depicts Elliott as someone with a sober view on relationships and society. Although his past work and these title suggest otherwise this new album isn’t merely shimmering in the deepest imaginable darkness. Instead passionate edges are more on the rise now. Opener ‘The Right to Cry’, which clocks off after seventeen minutes (!), is imbued in beautiful minor guitar play with some heavy strings in the backing. Eventually Elliott takes over by elaborating on the longing for love and is later on supported with some haunting background vocals. ‘The Right to Cry’ is however also a very changeable track when it comes to the pace changes and the interplay between minor and major keys. As said passion is more on the foreground, the poetic narrative of ‘Prepare for Disappointment’ and ‘Zugzwang’ bring a soothing warmth and are strikingly both wrapped up in the same swelling manner. On ‘Again’ Elliott remarkably enough switches up the pace and tries to break free from chains of depression. However, it remains an attempt for the closing ‘De Nada’ is a fading return to dimness. Oh, I almost forgot to discuss the two bonus tracks. I have a good reason for this for these tracks are woolly soundscapes. To me both of these tracks are missable. However I do understand true collectors can’t do without them, if only for title reasons.
Only Myocardial Infarction Can Break Your Heart is in a way a predictable piece of work coming from Matt Elliott. The outline is still based on the same instrumental structures we know from his past albums and is therefore compelling to the bone. After hearing the new Elliott it is very clear he wants to give his regular themes of desolation and despair more depth. Compositional wise and in terms of lyrics the album’s framework is more set around a compulsive form of charming. This is an unnecessary move if you ask me. The ‘charming framework’ causes the whole of the album to culminate into a compulsive restlessness. Restlessness is very much a part of Matt Elliott’s work, yet the compulsive character of it is annoying. Furthermore the balance of the album is uneven, for the opening track demands the most attention. All other tracks therefore lose out. Despite of this Matt Elliott does deliver an album of high standards that’s rooted in his previous work and continues the pain, however the level of pain is now of more acceptable nature. Therefore Only Myocardial Infarction Can Break Your Heart is still recommended to anyone who can deal with a lighter version of Matt Elliott.
Matt Elliott will visit the Dutch Le Guess Who? festival in Utrecht on December 1st 2013. His performance will start at 1600 at the Leeuwenbergh venue.
Label: Ici d’ailleurs
- The Right to Cry (17:19)
- Reap What You Sow (5:15)
- I Would Have Woken You with This Song (8:13)
- Prepare for Disappointment (3:30)
- Zugzwang (5:23)
- Again (4:17)
- De Nada (3:49)
[Bonus Track] Reap What You Sow’ and ‘Prepare for Disappointment’ serve as nice tone setting examples. Yet the bonus track, ‘All of Our Leaders Are Sociopathic, Criminal Monsters Who Should Be Locked Away Far from Any Kind of Power for the Good of All Humanity – (The Third Eyed Foundation remix) (9:42)
[Bonus Track] I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead – (The Third Eyed Foundation remix) (3:06)
Review by Wander Meulemans // VOR-301113