Ellie Come Home

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The primary sources of Ellie Come Home's sound are grand piano, violin, and cello, but the trio's debut album only occasionally dips into prog rock ponderousness. The overall effect is that of a cross between the postmodern chamber music of Rachel's and the lush psychedelia of latter-day Flaming Lips, leaning a bit toward the austerity of the former on most tracks, but then shifting into charming dream pop tunes like "Messing Up" and "A Tree Falls." While a couple of the ballads, most notably the mournful "I Didn't Name You," are as effective as the more uptempo material, a fair chunk of Primary Sources -- including the five-minute instrumental introduction -- drifts into mere saccharine prettiness; pianist and songwriter Seth Ashley's anodyne vocals don't help much, either. Arrangements this aggressively pretty need a much less sweet vocal presence at their center, à la the Flaming Lips' Wayne Coyne or Grandaddy's Jason Lytle. These faults are comparatively minor in relation to the album's artsy charms, however.

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