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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

13th Floor Elevators: Easter Everywhere


1) Slip Inside This House; 2) Slide Machine; 3) She Lives (In A Time Of Her Own); 4) Nobody To Love; 5) Baby Blue; 6) Earthquake; 7) Dust; 8) I've Got Levitation; 9) I Had To Tell You; 10) Postures (Leave Your Body Behind).

Where can you go from the blues-folk-garage-psycho insanity of the Elevators' debut? The choi­ces aren't particularly overwhelming, but there is still some room left for manoeuvring, enough so that the band's fans seem to be almost equally split in two over preferring this or that as their favourite first choice for the band.

On Easter Everywhere, the Elevators are no longer a garage band. Nothing on here even tries to recapture the primal punk power of 'You're Gonna Miss Me', and only a few songs go for the psy­chedelic fury of 'Reverberation' and the like: most notably, the faster-moving 'Earthquake' and 'I've Got Levitation', two tracks that break up the druggy monotonousness of the album and fully justify their titles — 'Earthquake' is as threatening as a real earthquake should be (well, at least around five points on the Richter scale), and 'I've Got Levitation' for a brief moment could con­vince you that you have got it indeed.

Elsewhere, this is strictly slow to mid-tempo psycho-folk, more Byrds and Jefferson Airplane in nature than Sonics, with the incessant electric jug providing first extra trippiness and then extra aggravation. The good news is that almost each of the songs — and they're as much songs as they're sermons, replete with Roky's acid admonitions — has a hook; the bad news is that too many of them drive this hook home merely by repeating it over and over, as is particularly the case with the album opener, the "epic" 'Slip Inside This House'. "Epic" because of its eight-minute length more than anything else.

One forgotten, completely overlooked little gem on here is guitarist Stacy Sutherland's 'Nobody To Love', a beautiful pop rocker very much in the vein of the Byrds (even with similar dreamy vocal arrangements), but also based on a scorching lead guitar line that is at once hard-rocking and, shall we say, impressionistic? Visionary? Since it does not have Roky's demented stamp on it, people usually pass it by, but here's hoping history will slowly recognize that Sutherland was as important to this band as Roky was, and sometimes more so.

Enigmatic remains the issue of why the band also decided to include a cover of Dylan's 'It's All Over Now, Baby Blue'. It is given a haunting, beautiful arrangement, with echo-laden electric guitar notes dripping all over you like stalactites in a cave, but that doesn't solve the question. Maybe Roky saw something in the lyrics that fit in particularly well with his inner chaos. Or may­be they just thought they could do it better than the Byrds.

Easter Everywhere is certainly not recommendable for those who mostly dug the debut for its sheer rocking power. But for those who'd rather prefer a solid helping of mushrooms along with the musical experience, it delivers the goods with even more efficiency. Me being more of a ro­cker at heart than a lunatic, I prefer the brain to get the upper hand and condescendingly offer this a thumbs up for a few really good songs, general innovative value and historical importance. The heart, however, prefers to keep silent unless it is pumped into action by 'I've Got Levitation' or driven to tears by 'Nobody To Love'.

Check "Easter Everywhere" (CD) on Amazon
Check "Easter Everywhere" (MP3) on Amazon

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