These United States

A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden (n / a)

Phases & Stages

These United States

A Picture of the Three of Us at the Gate to the Garden of Eden

Teaming D.C.'s Jesse Elliott and David Strackany (aka Paleo), These United States' debut is, as the title suggests, an exploration of exile and frustration of paradise just beyond reach. Elliott's scratchy voice rolls like a more soulful M. Ward, but his easy barrage of lyrical contortions evokes Andrew Bird's songbook, rhymes and alliteration unfolding in effortless streams ("Slow crows over a gold October, you're sitting getting colder as Van Gogh sobers"). Highlight and opener "First Sight" consciously cops Postal Service pulse, but Elliott's emotion lies in the shading dodge that dances ever on the periphery of his poeticism. "The Business" works horns and garagey surf-rock against the acoustic ache of "Diving Boards Pointed at the Sky," while "Burn This Bridge" kindles a choral swell uplifting in its refusal to regret. Yet Elliott's mortality-driven vision remains ever-elusive, or, as he scats on "Jenni Anne," "Here's the plan: There is no plan."

****

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Bright Light Social Hour
Jude Vol. 1 (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, Feb. 8, 2019

Texas Platters
Charlie Faye & the Fayettes
The Whole Shebang (Record Review)

Libby Webster, Feb. 8, 2019

More by Doug Freeman
SXSW Music Review: From the Hills With Love
SXSW Music Review: From the Hills With Love
Israel Nash’s answer to Luck Reunion and Revival Experience

March 18, 2019

SXSW Music Review: Nicole Atkins/Erin Rae
SXSW Music Review: Nicole Atkins/Erin Rae
The new Nashville sound

March 16, 2019

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

These United States

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Updates for SXSW 2019

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle