Well produced record from multi talented Leland Ettinger and her band.
Leland Ettinger is undoubtedly a talented artist, not only is she is a multi-instrumentalist, but also a gifted photographer. The Silver Wells comprise some of Los Angeles’ top session musicians including violin and string arranger Kaitlin Wolfberg, Joe Berardi on drums, augmented by Danny Frankel, who’s played with Lou Reed, kd lang and Marianne Faithful amongst others and the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Christof Certik. Half the album was recorded in a single live session with Leland And The Silver Wells playing together with an orchestra. The other half was recorded entirely online and assembled by producer Steve Gregoropoulos at his own studio.
The record opens with the dark ‘What Comes Around’ in which the protagonist is being relentlessly haunted by bad memories: ‘In this dark play the devil he screams a chilling bray, Inside my head, It’s haunting and it’s swallowing sound’. ‘Love Is Blind’ documents the dangers of pursuing a relationship based purely on physical attraction: ‘Love is blind all the time, Fall asleep in lust and then it goes bust, We tried but we were not able’. ‘Sweet Misery’ picks at the scab of a past relationship: ‘And your roses never opened from the grocery, And now my vase is broken woe is me, Are you just a token of what you gave to me, Sweet misery’.
‘Won’t Be Long’ foretells the end of the world as we currently know it and a restoration of the harmony of the natural world which humankind is destroying. It’s a slightly proggy number and the arrangement has echoes of a Joanna Newsom song. ‘Take It Down The Line’ documents the future humanity could face in a climate changed world: ‘We’ve been digging our own graves, A fate before us we can barely change’. ‘Story Of Love’ has some Whoesque guitar and drumming. It offers some romantic respite compared to some of the previous tracks.
There’s a richness to the orchestration on many of the songs on this album. However, although beautifully produced, this record feels like a slightly missed opportunity, with the arrangements overshadowing the songs. Ettinger is a skilled and exceptional artist, hopefully this album is a stepping stone to her producing a true classic.