Elliott Brood | Mountain Meadows (Six Shooter Records/ADA)

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Elliott Brood’s sound is a nice mix of acoustic and electric which shows that they have mastered a variety of style.

Elliott Brood is a Canadian band whose sound is a unique blend of country, pop, New Orleans street band and something dark and ominous—some call  their style “death country” and that works as well as any label I can come up with.

Their second full-length album, Mountain Meadows, takes its inspiration from the Mountain Meadows Massacre. In case you don’t’ remember your American history, this was an 1857 “incident” in which 100-140 emigrants to the west were slaughtered by a Mormon militia who tried to pass it off as the work of a local Indian tribe. We don’t know how many were killed because the bodies were buried in shallow graves or left to the elements and predators to dispose of. Dark enough for you? In truth the songs are not about the massacre so much as an imaginative exploration of what might have happened to the survivors, and you can enjoy the album perfectly well without trying to figure out the connection to the historical even referred to in the title.

Elliott Brood’s sound is a nice mix of acoustic and electric which shows that they have mastered a variety of styles and they keep things interesting by throwing in a few unexpected twists as well (several songs begin with the drum beat of a street band, for instance). The songs mostly follow familiar pop forms and the singing is adequate but it’s the creative instrumentation which sets this group apart. Mark Sasso is the lead vocalist and plays guitar, banjo, ukulele and harmonic which the other band members are Casey Laforet (guitar, bass pedals, keys, ukulele and backing vocals) and Stephen Pitkin (percussion, sampler and backing vocals).

Mountain Meadows was nominated for a Juno award, topped the Canadian college charts for 21 weeks and was shortlisted for the Polaris Prize for best Canadian album of the year in 2009. You can learn more about the band and check out their sound (along with some seriously strange videos) at their official web site: www.elliottbrood.com. A |  Sarah Boslaugh

RIYL: Wilco (The Album); Before the Frost…Until the Freeze

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