11 July 2011

Unearthed Review: The Ellis Collective. Five stars.

| johnboy
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Unearthed Review continues its inexorable progress through the Canberra musicians on the TripleJ Unearthed website.

Moving on through the “drummed” artists we come to The Ellis Collective.

They have this to say about themselves:

Triple J’s Richard Kingsmill praised the “classic Australian sound” of The Ellis Collective as their second single ‘7 Days Later’ took out the latest Unearthed Competition. To accompany these accolades, Triple J has added the band to the line-up at ‘Groovin’ The Moo’ alongside a bevy of massive names including Architecture In Helsinki, Datarock and House Of Pain.

Winning Triple J Unearthed is the latest highlight for the Indie-folk six-piece since the release of their first single in February. Launched alongside The Beautiful Girls at the Summer Rhythms Festival, the track quickly consolidated its position at the top of Triple Js Unearthed Charts. With a ground-swell of fan support, their second single, ‘7 Days Later’ quickly followed suit and became a recurring feature on Triple J’s Roots’n’All program. Throw in regular airplay from community radio stalwarts 3RRR, PBS and 4ZzZ and a string of sold out launch concerts and there wasn’t too far to dig before The Ellis Collective were Unearthed.

No strangers to a festival stage, The Ellis Collective’s recent successes are testament to their distinctive brand of songwriting that has won over festival crowds at Australia’s iconic Woodford Music Festival and National Folk Festivals and secured supports with the likes of US folk punk legends Tom Gabel (Against Me!) and Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music).

Stepping away from the spotlight in 2010 to focus solely on recording, The Ellis Collective have carefully crafted a studio sound that remains faithful to their unflinching live performances. The Ellis Collective’s debut album ‘Means What It Means’ (out July 2011) was lovingly recorded on old-school two-inch tape at Infidel Studios and is a captivating record of brutally honest Australian song-writing.

The album underscores The Ellis Collective’s ability to seamlessly blend and borrow from a diverse range of styles, wielding an ambidextrous musicality to create a sound that is undeniably unique and unmistakably Australian. Featuring vocals that echo Gareth Liddiard with lyrics to evoke John Darnielle and Conor Oberst set against a backdrop of soaring string sections and multi-layered harmonies, The Ellis Collective take an unconventional approach to storytelling that recounts the jagged-edged disappointments of everyday Australian life.

It appears today is Ellis Collective Day for me.

This morning Matty Ellis’ dog Percy tried to kill George The Kelpie of Few Accomplishments on our morning perambulation.

At lunchtime I bumped into the band’s Emma Kelly and Sam King in the Burmese Curry Place.

Then the Ellis Collective came up in my sweep through the “drummed” local artists on the Triple J Unearthed.

To make the day complete just needs Spike Thomson to walk into the office and punch me in the face.

This isn’t going to be that hard a review to do, I already know how I feel about The Ellis Collective, I’ve got all their recorded songs on my phone.

Sure, Matty Ellis’ falsetto grows less convincing on each listen, but unless you’re already a mad fan who’s heard it several thousand times you’ve got plenty to enjoy and it’s only on the one song in this set.

The music of the Ellis Collective gives a keen insight into the hearts of Canberrans circa 2011. All the everyday heartbreak and the slightly lost and crushing feeling that we’ve got no excuses for not being happier.

When not engaged in falsetto Matty sings like a real Australian man. The rest of the band provides depth and breadth to the songwriting.

You don’t expect knockabout bloke folk to come with a string section, and yet once you’ve heard it you’d expect nothing less.

If you haven’t heard The Ellis Collective before then you really should do yourself a favour and enjoy these three free tracks.

Five stars.

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Couldn’t ‘a happened to a nicer bloke

(I’m sure the rest of the collective are great folk too, but ne’er met them)

Grats for getting local talent national exposure

Five stars.

Wow. I just went straight out and bought their album.
Oh, and two Five star acts in a row, awesome!

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