The voice of Elle.
It hits three ranges - this low, commanding croon with a soulful ooze; this higher, more timorous air; and this more punk-ish belting at the crashing crescendos of her poignant pop songs - bolstered by keys (Paul Kokeny) and drums (Adam LeRoy).
Musically, these ditties can be quite melodious. They can amble with shuffling drums, warm toned buoyant keyboard flares and gutiars that go from a grinning, shambolic jangle to a more disonant feedback fuzzed shred.
But they can also brood, get down into some dark moody murk. Like when that feedback flares higher and the tones go low and minor. And both Elle (Sawa)'s voice and words embody catharsis. (Though, in fashion of heart-wrenching twilight-folk baladeers ala Elliott Smith or the austere soulful yet stinging shuffling of a Cat Power, the ponderances of her own blue day ballads stray from sugar-coating and leave an even more pain filled elipses, see: "Our Apocalypse").
"Go" is a guttural toe-tapper that forms a clenched-fist resolution ("broken hearts pounding streets...I will go when I go..."), with pummeling drums, offsetting sunny-toned keys and duel gutiars of fuzzy scrapes and a golden toned bluesy wail.
"Hallucinate"'s dreamy sway of tight acoustic strums under that electric guitars bewitching, bending bellow embodies that weird blend of: tired, pissed-off, yet free and relieved feeling one would at the end of the shitty day-job work day from hell.
There's a lot going on here. Booming bass. Found sounds. More atmospheric-leaning pieces. It covers a lot of ground with sixteen 3 1/2 minute chapters.
"Small Faces" starts out with this low, trepidatious sort of shoe-gaze sizzle but coalesces into an open the gates type of jammy spill out of drums and keys unfurling forht - and that will slide into the haunting high-strung jitter of overdubbed guitars purring atonnaly over "At Your Best" which wavers in and out between a loungey wafting serenade and back into spacey, simmering guitars.
Dig in. There's blistered beauty and interesting blends: minimalist guitar pop, fractured new wave, brooding folk - plaintive, gut-punching prose...
Find it on CD and mp3 - 11/13 - Northern Lights
with: Sheefy McFly and the Deloreans & Switch Palace.