| J.T. Woodruff, lead singer of Hawthorne Heights, made a great choice when he chose Ellison to be the first band he signed to the newly created Carbon Copy Media. The four-piece indie rock band released its first label-backed album Say Goodnight, Sleep Alone in August 2006, and it shows quite some promise.
Taking on sounds similar to Jimmy Eat World, Cartel, Copeland, and even Sleepaway, the group seems to have found its comfort in making catchy and quality music. The opening song of the album, "Joanna, Open Your Eyes," sets the tone for the 10 songs to follow. Starting off with a solo intro by drummer Mitch Wyatt, lead vocalist and guitarist Josh Hill brings out his vocals and carries a soothing tone throughout the song and the rest of the album by keeping a whispering aspect as he sings, even when he reaches for the high notes. Although the rhythm guitar seems to be very basic, lead guitarist Ian Bolender adds some depth to the song by playing simple riffs in the background.
Ellison definitely knows how to combine all of their instruments to make what I'd like to call a lovely sound. The one thing that I kept seeing come back up throughout the album was the use of the backup vocals during choruses to add an additional instrument. Bolender hums and echoes Hill in almost all the songs to make sure there aren't ever any breaks in the song so that the music can flow continually.
"Following You," which appears at track 2, shows the band's skills at creating catchy guitar melodies. A few hours after listening to the song, I found myself humming the guitar riffs during the chorus. After listening to the whole album, I noticed that Ellison had found out what they were good at and they didn't stray away from it. They had basic guitar progressions, simple but catchy riffs, and soothing vocals. The only down side to this is that there wasn't that much variation throughout the album. It just seemed to be the same sound over and over again (even though it was a good sound).
Immediately following two up-tempo songs, Ellison moves into a slow jam called "Holiday Drive-In" that incorporates Hill's lyrics on young love and personal experience. The band could be grouped in the well-known emo genre because of its personalized lyrics, but I think the group's mature sound makes sure that doesn't happen. A slower song that includes one of the most soothing guitar riffs running throughout the entire song is found later in the album.
Pretty much, this is how I'm going to sum up the album. Ellison made a great first appearance with a record label, and I'm sure Woodruff is quite happy with his choice of signing the band as his first. Great usage of backup vocals helped a lot of the group's songs to sound smooth, and simple guitar riffs repeated in the background got songs stuck in my head. The album started getting a little bit repetitive by the 8th song on the 11-song album, but I think with Hill's acoustic song "Short Love" at track 11, Ellison leaves on a good note. The song had incredible lyrics and an unforgettable chorus that made me forget about the rest of the album. I think they knew what they were doing when they put "Short Love" last on the album.
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more from this young band out of Cincinnati… yeah, definitely.
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| SAY GOODNIGHT, SLEEP ALONE
Carbon Copy Media
1) Joanna, Open Your Eyes
2) Following You
3) Holiday Drive-In
4) Your Goodbyes
5) Say Goodnight, Sleep Alone
6) Give In
8) Love Takes And Breaks
9) Leaving Tomorrow
10) Tired of Pretending
11) Short Love