Elliott Brood: Mountain Meadows


When you hear the title phrase Mountain Meadows, you may think of pastoral fields growing high in the sky with peaceful ease, not so for this Canadian trio.  Elliott Brood has constructed an aggressive electric folk period piece that deliberates on, or at was least inspired by, the Mountain Meadow Massacre of 1857.  Things kick off hot and mean with the best track on the album “Fingers and Tongues”; guitars ring with confidence over a feedback drone and ghost-like backing vocals.  The metallic instrumental “Chuckwagon” is odd and wouldn’t sound out of place on a Molly Hatchet album, but the heavy drums and distorted electric guitars act as the stones in “Garden River” while a banjo and raspy vocal guides the tune, rushing full-bore, downstream.  The waltzing piano in the reflective “Notes” and the barroom romp of “Woodward Avenue” add a lighter touch before the somber “31 Years” directly deals with the killings. 


On Mountain Meadows, Elliott Brood coats their rock tracks with earthy grime and populates acoustic folk numbers with bleakness and despair.  The overall message and the bands feelings on the Massacre are clouded in the lyrics, which are minimal, buried a bit and not very gripping, but the musical tone is certainly set.  Mountain Meadows on the instrumental front successfully straddles both the rock and folk worlds but unfortunately the lyrics can’t consistently convey the sense of unease or restlessness that the music produces, leaving this effort feeling less then complete.         


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