Elliot P Grant has been making music for around twenty years. He calls it strange but I disagree. It’s not pop music but it’s also not strange to my ears. On his album Test of Life Forms he creates sixteen songs many of which are around two-and-a-half minutes in length.
His music lies somewhere between bands like Deerhunter, Sonic Youth and The Velvet Underground. I found a lot of his grooves instantly catchy and I was especially attracted to the distorted vocal melodies. That being said since the songs are short he often neglects to include choruses and bridges. His songs are like short, compact ideas which briefly shine before fizzling out.
A good example of what I’m talking about is on the first song entitled “Jobe.” First things first. I love this groove. It’s a fluctuating, hypnotic array of sounds. He never fleshed the song out. Would I have liked to hear a more fleshed out version? Maybe.
Continuing with “Worms on the Otherside” I was again addicted to the initial groove. This time around I was reminded of the band Clinic. He introduces another great groove on “Sunbath Trash.” “Sunbath Trash” is a great song anyway you look it. It sounded like a more subdued song off the album Embryonic by The Flaming Lips. Although the song is almost three-and-a- half minutes, it still doesn't have a substantial chorus or what you might call hook.
“Calendula Dimes” is a moody soundscape that could be used in a movie while “This Is What You See” is a slow-moving sprawling song where he repeats “This Is what you see.” The centerpiece on the album is the title track which comes in around four minutes. It’s another slow burner but also contains more infectious vocal melodies.The last girth-y song is the closer “I Will Not See You Again.”
Here's the thing about Test of Life Forms. It's best listened from beginning to end. This isn't the type of album that has one or two hits. He creates a wavelength with his template of textures and tones which creep into every song. Just listen to it without looking for a single and you will appreciate it more.
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