18 February 2007

13th Floor Elevators- Easter Everywhere (1967)

Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4 out of 5

On Easter Everywhere, the 13th Floor Elevators managed to refine their sound without sacrificing the things that made their first album so great. Roky Erickson still sounds like a madman, but here he also comes across as much more intelligent and focused. Additionally, while still a little on the low-fi side, the production of Easter Everywhere is much clearer and helps to accent the band's interplay (although the rhythm section on this album is different from the first).

Although they still qualify as garage rockers, the 13th Floor Elevators have a much more noticable folk rock sheen on Easter Everywhere. They even go as far as to include a damn good Dylan cover with "Baby Blue." On "Slide Machine," "Nobody To Love," "Dust," and "I Had To Tell You," the Elevators find a happy middle ground somewhere between the Byrds crystaline sound and Forever Changes-era Love. Fortunately for the garage rock afficianado, the Elevators pull out on the stops on "She Lives (In A Time Of Her Own),"Earthquake," and "Levitation." These helps to give Easter Everywhere a lot of diversity and make it ain interesting listen from beginning to end.

Easter Everywhere provides plenty of improvements over the first LP. Tommy Hall's jug can no longer coast as a strange novelty. It appears less often on Easter Everywhere, but when it is present serves more to create an distinct atmosphere. For me it's like quantum jitters in the typical tapestry of rock music. Stacy Sutherland leaps over his already strong playing on The Psychedelic Sounds Of... His solo on "Step Inside This House" manages to inspire awe and his accompanyment on many of the tracks, especially on "Baby Blue," is graceful and impressive. He is not a flashy guitarist at all, but extremely tasteful and Sutherland always seems to choose just the right notes.

The lyrics are also much better on Easter Everywhere. Hall takes on the lion's shares of the lyrics, and while his worldview is certainly demented, he successfully sidesteps most psychedelic cliches and gives the listener something unique. It doesn't hurt that Erickson's all-for-broke singing usually complements Hall's vision perfectly. This synergy is best sampled on the opening track "Step Inside This House." It rarely makes logical sense, but it's never less than riveting.

The only misstep on Easter Everywhere is the closing track "Postures (Leave Your Body Behind)." While not a terrible mistake by any means, it does overstay its welcome at six-and-a-half minutes. I guess the Elevators had already spent their long-form song capital on "Step Inside This House," which may even be too short at eight minutes.

Like The Psychedelic Sounds Of..., the 2005 Charly CD reissue of Easter Everywhere gives us ten bonus tracks. The ones here are fortunately of significantly more value. There are eight live tracks, but this time they are of original compositions from The Psychedelic Sounds Of... instead of rock covers that every band played in the mid 60's. The sound quality is not bad at all (although you still need the 1st album), and it's cool to hear the band really rip into their own stuff in a live setting. It's certainly better than the band's so-called "live" album, which is actually just studio outtakes with overdubbed crowd noise (these mp3s are included with the first album at Dr. Schluss). As for the other two bonus tracks, an instrumental take of "Levitation" is basically filler, but we get an entertaining studio outtake called "I Don't Ever Want To Come Down" that actually comes from the sessions for the band's next album.

Easter Everywhere and The Psychedelic Sounds Of... basically comprise the 13th Floor Elevator's essential catalog. The "live" album is not as advertised and not recommended. There is also a metaphoric pantload of studio alternate takes and other live tracks on a string of compilations only recommended for those completely obsessed with the 13th Floor Elevators. The final studio album, Bull Of The Woods, is missing Hall's electric jug, and his presence as lyricist is much less. Even worse, Erickson's drug use landed him in several kinds of institutions and he is mostly absent from the album. That said, he is fully present for a mysterious and great take on "May The Circle Be Unbroken." This means the band is mostly dependent on Sutherland. He took on the challenge respectably with increased songwriting and great guitar playing, but it's still just not the same as the magical first two albums.

Buy Me:
13th Floor Elevators- Easter Everywhere

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

no link ?