Given the standard of contemporary home-studio kit, ‘bedroom recorded’ needn’t always translate as hugely inferior sound. The latest album from the terrifically named Elvis Depressedly is defiant in the face of technical advance, however, and sometimes sounds as if its creators, Mat Cothran and Delaney Mills, took a four-track to the outside toilet whenever the latch was up, with little more than a Maplin drum machine, a charity shop acoustic and an AM radio to hand.
As low in mood as it is in fidelity, ‘New Alhambra’, a brief nine-song collection from the North Carolina pairing, opens with its most intriguing, effective and, by gosh, cleanly produced offering, ‘Thou Shall Not Murder’. Announced by a snippet of ghoulish cartoon babble, the haunting track loafs forward with a languidly funky rhythmic drawl and softly droning root notes as singer Cothran summons a disturbing sadness to his biblical edict.
You get the sense that there’s more lyrical intrigue and melancholy reflection on the tracks that follow, but Cothran’s rickety deadpan vocal, soaked in chorusy effects, frequently melts into mere component of the tranquilised arrangements and instrumental wist. That the likes of ‘Bruises (Amethyst)’ and the deathly atmospheric title track retain momentum is mainly down to Mike Roberts’ structured basslines, which prop up the drowsy meanderings like the sober half of a couple trying to make it to the night bus. Album closer, ‘Wastes Of Time’, brings some zip back into play, being a catchily contemplative, if straightforward, strum-along that will surely soundtrack a quirky US indie flick before the year’s out. “There’s so much more to life, than all these wastes of time” sings Cothran and, other than ‘New Alhambra’’s superior bookends, it’s an apt sentiment here.