ALBUM REVIEW: Ellereve – Reminiscence


 

Reminiscence (Eisenwald Records) is the first full-length album from Germany’s Ellereve (the alias of singer-songwriter Elisa Giulia Teschner), following an EP and several singles.

The record is centred around Teschner’s melancholic songs, which are augmented by ambient electronic textures and post-rock atmospherics. The songs themselves are rich, bold and strong. Suffused with fragility and emotional pain, they are also lifted by powerful melodies and catchy hooks and choruses. The song structures are concise and to-the-point — only a few of the nine songs hit the five-minute mark, and two of the tracks are under two minutes.

 

This approach seems to underline the fact that Reminiscence is essentially a singer-songwriter album, based around vocal melodies, rather than a riff-based work with vocals added on top.

 

Teschner’s emotive voice is usually the focal point throughout the album. Recalling Emma Ruth Rundle, Tori Amos, and Björk, she strikes a pleasing balance between soaringly ethereal and delicately personal as she glides through the mournful songs. During some of the climactic choruses, there are several overdubbed harmonising vocal layers covering multiple octaves to create an elevating effect.

 

The musical accompaniment makes use of trip-hop-inspired electronic textures, colossal bass riffs, reverb-drenched guitars, hypnotic melodies and intense drums. The musical parts are layered up to create a mesh that is often complex but always leaves room for Teschner’s voice. The intensity level rises and falls in support of the song; sometimes it feels like calm ambient music and at others it is more like heavy post-Rock. The music never quite reaches “metal” levels of heaviness, but it nevertheless ebbs and flows with a dynamically charged urgency that supports the songs’ poignancy.

 

Although undoubtedly sorrowful, Reminiscence is far from a gloomy record. The dreamy soundscapes and impassioned vocals often combine to elicit a kind of cathartic hopefulness, as though sadness is being transcended. This captivating interplay between the dark and the light continues throughout the record. This is exemplified on album’s closer ‘But Nowhere’: at the climax point Teschner repeats the refrain “I’m free” over a thunderously ecstatic musical backdrop before it all dies away to sombre clean guitar chords that seem to bring us back down to worldly reality.

 

The album’s mix is perhaps a little strange: although Teschner’s voice is crystal-clear, the musical arrangements often feel a little thin and treble-heavy, lacking in low-end weight and openness.

 

Reminiscence is carried by strong songwriting, and its ethereal soundscapes work to convey the songs’ emotional messages. It is a dense yet succinct record that will appeal to those who appreciate experimental rock music and emotionally eloquent songs.

 

Buy the album here:

http://ellereve.de/

 

7 / 10

DUNCAN EVANS