Album review: Elliott: Girls with Radical Haircuts – released July 2013

Standing on the shoulders of giants. Isaac Newton sums it up so neatly. None of us creates anything without building on the legacy of those who have gone before us. But that’s how we can reach for the stars, almost touch them, using the achievements of great musicians. The young Danish band, Elliott, have just released their debut album Girls with Radical Haircuts, and in their press release they pay homage to the one hundred year old catalogue of recorded compositions that have enriched our lives. They want to stand on those shoulders. Elliott comprises Alex Jønsson, guitar, Jens Mikkel Madsen, double bass and Jakob Sørensen, trumpet. They share the 8 original compositions, all working with each other to create a very distinctive and haunting sound. All play with other bands. Alex, in particular, plays with Foyn Trio which is led by the striking vocalist Live Foyn Friis whose pretty, quirky, catchy vocals are worth exploring.

So what can we see and hear with this particular trio, Elliott? An unusual combination of instruments – trumpet, guitar and double bass – creating a cool, consistent and spacious chamber sound, inspired by their native land, with beautiful compositions that hang around in your head. Jakob Sørensen’s delicately clear trumpet tone reminds me of Ron Horton when he played with Ben Allison on Midnight Cowboy from Cowboy Justice – a trumpet which is languid yet brittle, meandering gently through a vast American landscape. In Girls we have a more intimate landscape, from the dreamy calypso of Øresund, Baby, where the rocking bass lulls us to sleep to the beautiful Detecting Turtles. Alex Jønsson, who created a magical, fairytale-like atmosphere in The Lost Moose (reviewed here), has continued this vein. His opening, signature, melancholy chord on Dark Blue sets the tone which the others catch. He creates a sound which reaches back to the time of lutes and citterns but which speaks to us. These are wistful compositions, designed to be heard in a fire-lit room with the wind howling outside.

The arresting artwork of the album cover was created by Simon Gorm Eskildsen and you can see the making of it in the video below. The mixing and mastering by Kasper Nyhus are very fine. This is a delightful album by three talented musicians and composers which deserves its place on the shoulders of giants because, quite simply, it is beautiful.

Alex Jønsson, guitar
Jens Mikkel Madsen, double bass
Jakob Sørensen, trumpet
Simon Gorm Eskildsen, artwork

Buy album here

Mary James

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