Ertlif

Ertlif

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Despite the source of the band's name (derived from a fantastical myth that involves alchemy and leprechauns), the progressive aspect of Ertlif is not so much in the subject matter of the band's songs. There are no fairies or trolls or magicians drifting through the songs. Instead, Ertlif sing about subjects both earthier and easier to believe and relate to. That does not stop the music from taking on an edgy mysticism that lurks uneasily beneath the surface. There is a sense of Pink Floyd-like detached spaciness, but the primary musical well from which Ertlif draw is Procol Harum. "Try Making It Easy" is like a harder-rocking, no-nonsense "Whiter Shade of Pale," and James Mosberger's keyboard skills recall those of Matthew Fisher. "There Is Only Time to Die," with its lovely touches of violin, has the same stately, downhearted gait as Procol Harum's ballads, but there is more to Ertlif than paranoid gloom. John Rusinski's assured voice sounds like a more-affected, English Ronnie Van Zandt, especially on "Plastic Queen," a viscous tune with tinkling piano chords. "The Song" works a more swinging, mutated groove from Canned Heat's "On the Road Again," though it doesn't stay that way for long, switching to an organ-led jam that is almost mid-'60s garage-like in its instrumental textures. Call it progressive-garage. Finally, it appropriates and slightly alters (as well as rocking up) the melody from the Supremes' "My World Is Empty Without You." If Including Plastic Queen is not as hypnotically trance-like as it aspires to be (it almost is during the bass-acoustic guitar-drum groove of "High and Dry" and the sustained-guitar with tribal drumming of "Walpurgis") and can occasionally grate or meander, it is less overreaching (though not necessarily any more focused) than many of its contemporaries and just as nervy.