Carrie Elkin: Call It My Garden

~ Saturday, 12 March 2011
Here is another album by a girl with an acoustic guitar; just what the world needs right now. Harsh? Sexist? Maybe, but please afford me the time to elaborate. The album starts off with a Joni Mitchell style laugh on Jesse Likes Birds, which come across as a Steve Earle hoedown and ends blandly with a Hootie type Shangri-la at the end and yes, Jesse like a lot of things but you wouldn’t want to hang out with him. Guilty Hands is slightly better but does nothing more than emphasise the influence of the church on what should be the devils music.

The carnage continues with Lift Up The Anchor and The Things We’re Afraid Of. Insatiably vacuous tunes accompanied by a quote from ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris describing them as 'spellbinding'. Maybe young Sidney Vicious missed an opportunity here? Carrie then manages to cover a song even more insipid than her own with the sleeper Iowa. Now, I can guess what demographic these tunes are aimed at but I didn’t know Sunday school teachers were such a large percentage of the record buying public.

And now for an interlude. The next five songs are much better. Landeth By The Sea has a cinematic/soundtrack feel to it while Shots Rang Out is a hard hitting tale of abuse and the repercussions that come with it. Berlin is a well structured song with a chorus that builds beautifully that even a old cynic like me can appreciate. By track 9 St. Louis, Carrie and I are starting to develop empathy as she clearly likes gardening and is starting to sound like a storyteller. The best song on the album is the wonderful Dear Sam which is sung like her lover is lying beside her as she sounds intimate and almost naked.

Then comes the last song Edge Of The World and back to earlier form. It is fair to say that I don’t take as much issue with the song as I do with the accompanying press blurb which describes this song as, “Pushing boundaries, taking great leaps and a ragged, romantic wild carnival”. Have they ever been on a night out? I fell asleep. It goes on that it would be ‘nice closure for the record’. As long as you promise not to make another one. What this track made me realise was that sunshine I felt in the second half of the album was only a clear autumnal day because of the poor quality of the material that preceded it.

What the world needs right now is a girl with an acoustic guitar. Harsh? Debatable. Sexist? No. Apathetic artistic endeavour? Yes.

[][] (2/5)

Review by Captain Dhilin Kunderan