Taking a break from its usual power-pop approach, Eleventyseven tries its hands at acoustic country on this five-song EP. Attack of the Mountain Medley finds the South Carolina–bred Christian trio keeping its cheeky lyrical humor and infectious sense of melody while jettisoning the synths and electric guitars that defined their earlier releases. Lead singer Matthew Langston sounds loose and playful here amid the crisply picked acoustic guitars and tinkling mandolins. The band shows a knack for storytelling in “All the Doubt in Town” (an account of a struggling young couple) and “Nobody’s Business” (a zany tale of a trailer park moonshiner). “Long Way Down” adds a hint of rockabilly to the mix as it lyrically careens from romance to ghosts and talking trees, while “I’m a Mormon” offers a gentle tweaking of the Latter-Day Saints amid references to Star Wars, Green Day, and Will Smith. The most ambitious track here is “Appalachian Wine,” an odd yet sensitive parable about love and forgiveness embellished with piano and violin. Eleventyseven binds it all together with lustrous vocal harmonies and a spirit of collective fun.
Click here to add a video. Click to add lyrics if not listed.
A New Side of Eleventyseven| Posted July 08, 2014
I am an uber fan of Eleventyseven's electro-pop-punk-synth goodness ("And the Land of Fake Believe " cover art is my phone case for crying out loud) so I was both excited and weary to see the change in style. I didn't know if the change of pace would mar my love for their image and sound. Although I grew up listening to country music with my mother, it is in no way my favorite genre of music, neither my least.
Matt Langston's vocals, to which I had already pledged myself in marriage, were warm and rich and hardly recognizable- but not in a bad way. I was shocked at how effortless and comforting the band made the sound- setting down synthesizers for banjos. This sounded nothing like the Eleventyseven I had come to know and love, but still felt like music I had been listening to my entire life.
"Long Way Down" is the first track, with an opening beat reminiscent to the iCarly theme song, but is probably my favorite song on the EP. I literally cannot stop singing the catchy lyrics and the upbeat sound. But when I took the time to absorb the words and look passed the happy sound, I was left with a feeling of nostalgia. After spending his entire life searching for a pirate's treasure, the narrator finds it to be out of reach, or after kissing the girl he's pursued, it falls flat, he declares that it's "a long way to fall to have nobody catch you/ a long way to call to have nobody answer/ a long walk home if you don't know the mountain roads." This is pretty deep for lyrics for a country/pop song. The bridge probes even deeper to the moral behind each life story told (serious or funny): "[It's a] long fall down to earth from heaven/ a long walk back to there from hell/ and sometimes the difference between them is hard to tell."
The next track is "All the Doubt in Town" which, with a bit more twang, eerily recounted my grandparents' life stories about a young couple [assuming this happened about 60-70 years in the past] that gets pregnant, married, and moves out into the country. The girl is nervous but, in the chorus, her husband reassures her of his love in a heart-wrenching, sweet manner. The song follows them through the woman trying to leave him after he loses his job and concludes with him on his deathbed with his wife at his side. This song always makes me bawl because it fills me with the warmth of a love that can last 60+ years.
"Nobody's Business" is the ode to trailer park antics. From making moonshine, creepy trailer neighbors, old cars, and shotguns, the band makes a twangy white trash anthem to every mobile home in this great nation.
Keeping the energy high into the fourth song, "I'm A Mormon" is a satirical ballad on those "...And I'm a Mormon" commercials that seemed to plague the nation in the late 00's-early 10's. I don't believe the band was trying to offend any LDS listeners, but rather exaggerate how the media seemed to portray Mormons as an evolved species. I didn't laugh out loud, but I definitely found it extremely amusing and fun. I plan on emailing it to my former English teachers who familiarized me with the element.
The EP ends on a sweet note with "Appalachian Wine," a love story of Mother Earth and Father Time falling in love. God directs the celestial romance as the two fall for one another and settle down together.
Overall: This is the closest I'll come to having country music on my iPod, and even those whose detest the genre can appreciate 11t7's efforts. I find this to be a sweet change of pace and I will remember this face of the band when I listen to their customary sound.
11t7 4 lyf