Ellery, Make Your Troubles Mine

Ellery, Make Your Troubles Mine

Once, not that long ago, there was a time when women in the music world could be something other than rumpshakin’ hip-hop queens, utterly bland teen pop stars, or vapid “divas.” There was a time when it was okay for women to really, truly sing without trying their damnedest to be teenage boy fantasy-fodder, when women making intelligent, thoughtful, and yes, sometimes rocking music could actually sell CDs and get played on the radio. These days? Well…not so much.

Now, Ellery (which consists primarily of husband-and-wife duo Justin and Tasha Golden on guitars and vocals and piano, respectively) isn’t quite going to drag the music business kicking and screaming back to the heady days of Lilith Fair with their debut EP, Make Your Troubles Mine, but it’s a nice reminder nonetheless that music like this didn’t die completely — it just fell back off the mainstream radar. The music itself, sadly, isn’t that much to write home about; it’s primarily middle-of-the-road pop-rock, with a few high points like “You’ll Get Through It,” which throws off the slow Adult Alternative twinges that pop up elsewhere to roar gently up above the clouds, Slowdive-style.

What makes Make Your Troubles Mine worth listening to, then, is Tasha Golden’s vocals. The first track, “Anna,” is a good example — it’s an okay song, nothing special but nothing very offensive, but Ms. (Mrs.? Man, that feels odd to write in a review…) Golden grabs the song and drags it up from the ground. She’s got a beautifully high yet understated voice, like Sarah McLachlan minus some of the drama or the Cranberries’ Dolores O’Riordan without the Irish folk keening. My only problem with her, really, is that sometimes she’s too quiet when it feels like she should really be giving it everything. Throughout the disc, it almost feels like she’s holding back, and when she does occasionally let slip and put some power behind it…whoa. (See the end of the aforementioned “You’ll Get Through It,” where Golden cuts loose a bit and sounds like The Rocking Horse Winner’s Jolie Lindholm.)

That said, the best song on the album would have to be “Be Like This,” which is actually not a track that does a lot to showcase Ms. Golden’s vocal talents. It starts off with a monotone-ish, Alanis Morissette-style line, but then builds quietly tensely to a nice crescendo of military drums, a minimal piano figure, jangly-yet-distorted guitars, and repeated sung-spoken lyrics that sound like the mutterings of an intensely shy, introverted loner in love; more than any other song on here, it pulls me along for the ride from start to end, and that ain’t a bad thing.

(self-released; Ellery -- http://www.ellerymusic.com/)
BUY ME: Amazon

Review by . Review posted Saturday, October 1st, 2005. Filed under Reviews.

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