There's a dreamy sort of nostalgia to Elizabeth & The Catapult's debut LP Taller Children
. Some of the memories are happy and some are not, but each one of them stirs up the very sentiment ETC seems to be attempting to convey: we never really grow up as much as we think.
Building on root influences of jazz and American folk, songwriter Elizabeth Ziman delivers, far and away, some of the finest lyrics on the indie rock scene today. Trading abstract uncertainties for thought-provoking poetry, Ziman successfully walks the blurry line dividing the emotional turbulence of adolescence from the eloquence of adult romance. From bittersweet ballads like "Just In Time" to the playful folk rock of "Race You," Taller Children
begs the listener to revisit those nuanced milestones of young love's melodrama, from frolicking in open fields to pining over a lover lost to thinking about the easiest way to call it quits when the flame has burned out.
Don't be deceived, though, to think that there is anything juvenile about Ziman's songs. On the contrary, while they may evoke images of adolescence, they also bridge the gap to "real" adulthood where those emotional experiences have become the foundations for the people we've become. Apart from the lyrics, this "bridge-building" is largely grounded in Ziman's jazzy vocal style complimented by folksy guitar rhythms laid underneath what can otherwise be considered the standard sounds of rock. The result is a musical style that draws from enough different eras to create timeless tunes anyone--yes, even your parents--can relate to.
The icing on this simple, yet flavorful cake is that ETC executes the "taller children" theme without a trace of condescension. Indeed, if anyone did feel the slightest bit patronized by the message, it would only further the band's overarching point, which is that most, if not all, people could stand to lighten up a bit. Whether you're crossing the line into your dreaded thirties, expecting a third child and a second mortgage, or approaching your day of reckoning, Elizabeth & The Catapult melodically provide us with one warm, important reminder: we are none of us as old as all that. -josh cacopardo
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MP3: Elizabeth and the Catapult - "Race You" (Taller Children)
Elizabeth and the Catapult on Myspace