Fast Forward

El Ten Eleven

(CD - Fake Record Label #FRL 11)

Review by Paul Simpson

Los Angeles-based instrumental duo El Ten Eleven are typically categorized as "post-rock," but their sound has little, if anything, in common with the cinematic crescendo-core associated with bands like Explosions in the Sky. Bassist Kristian Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty create upbeat songs utilizing real-time looping effects and acoustic as well as electronic drum kits, avoiding any sort of preprogrammed or sequenced elements. Dunn and Fogarty manage to get a lot out of such a limited setup, and given their tight musicianship combined with electronic drum sounds and pedals, their music often seems like it's programmed, even though it's all played live. Their sixth full-length album Fast Forward is one of their breeziest, most danceable albums yet, with a few tracks (such as "Scott Township" and "Be Kind, Rewind") having a pleasant New Order vibe to them. The more downtempo, chilled-out tracks come closer to Tycho or an instrumental Washed Out, especially the slow, hazy "We Lost a Giant." Fogarty's father passed away shortly before the album was recorded, so there's a twinge of melancholy to the album, but the group's bittersweet melodies are far more celebratory than gloomy. Fast Forward is a sunny, enjoyable album showcasing El Ten Eleven at their most inventive as well as accessible.

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