REVENGE by Ellery Twining (Album Review)

Rich Freitas has been behind the drum kit for seventeen years now. For bands like Low-beam and Slander, he has been patient in developing his own musical voice. His debut solo album, using the name Ellery Twinning, was recorded in a log cabin in his native Connecticut. These tracks certainly have a bucolic atmosphere; acoustic guitars, relaxed drums, intrepid bass, and touches of electric guitar and piano that add colour, creating a chilled-out, pensive vibe. 


The most unique feature of these tracks, however, is not in the tight, middle-of-the-road, and ultimately inoffensive music, but the stories yarned via a Frank Black meets Shawn Mullins verbalism. Pleading sincerity through intonation, these lyrics are stories, stories that don't necessarily need to be paid full attention, as one can let their half deadpan, half sarcastic delivery become another instrument, their core meaning able to seep through thanks to some descriptive imagery and unique character observations.

A Month of Sundays contrasts spiritual practice ("I read my first self-help book in the third grade"), with the theme of trying to conceptualize divorce, while elsewhere the songs are generous in their honest thoughts on personal matters. On "Civic Duty" Freitas writes an interesting character study of his mother's boyfriend, a gregarious man nicknamed Rat, who babysat him from the comfort of the neighborhood bar. 

Freitas doesn't sing often on this record, but when he does, like on tracks such as "Let Me Die Onstage" and "The Day Jeff Buckley Died", the results aren't always as successful as his spoken word. Despite his proficiency in multi-instrumentalism and lyricism, straight singing may not be the artist's strong suit, and the aforementioned tracks are somewhat marred by out-of-key vocal deliveries.  

Though it is a fairly one-note affair, Revenge manages to feel important for its loyalty to one style of play, and the depth of lyricism gifted to the listener.