William Elmore – I fell in love… and all I got was this lousy broken heart EP (Jamendo)
As I was downloading this I was feeling rather hopeful, the list of influences on Elmore’s MySpace left me with dreams of a Donovan-esque psychadelic Folk adventure which seemed like the perfect soundtrack to lying in bed with food poisoning (Kebabs, so many cliches, so much truth) but, as ever, my delicate hopes were dashed to at least some extent by the cold, hard fist of reality.
I’m not sure where the disappointment came from with this one though, I’m hesitant to place it at William Elmore’s feet because it’s clear what he’s trying to do and you can just about tell that he’s heading in the right direction with his attempts, the idea isn’t amazing in its execution on his part but it’s not bad and a pleasant listen could be had but… but, well perhaps this is where the blame can be placed because the production quality really is dire. At times the raggedy, rough as fuck feel of it all can be viewed as endearing, a bit like listening to 60′s folksters The Fugs, you know that a decent producer, some decent equipment or a sound engineer would fix all the problems in an instant, but you’re rather glad that it’s been left broke. That’s only at a few points though and it really doesn’t breed tolerance for the crap production on the rest of it, even where it may just have been intended for effect it does just sound bad. And that’s a real shame because there’s something quite nice in here, Elmore has an interesting (if inconsistent) vocal style, part singing, part just gentle, rumbling noise making; and the melodies aren’t bad even if they’re not good either, verging occasionally as they do on the fiddling side of things as opposed to the performing side.
So ultimately this is a pleasant idea and one that I don’t think was done badly by William Elmore himself, although even for his part there could/should have been more effort put into polishing his performances. It’s all let down by the production quality though, which is a clear fault in my eyes and one which I’m half tempted to excuse because this is free music and there’s no investment going into that side of things for anyone but I’m not going to go with that because there are so many artists releasing their music for free who are managing to do a far better job of it. Creative Commons licensed music doesn’t equate to amateur music, it can more than compete with commercially produced stuff as long as those involved make their expectations match their capabilities.
And, out of laziness and for my own mindless gratification (it’ll make me feel powerful) I’m going to start giving overall ratings with these reviews. Ratings out of a hundred and yes, I do understand the slight absurdity of saying that one album is 1% better than another…
Final Rating: 62/100