Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Alternative Rock, Folk, Pop, Rock
A member of the band Heatmiser, Elliot Smith recorded home demos on any equipment he could get his hands on. His first "solo" album is a cheap four-track home recording that hints at the melodic possibilities Smith would e... more »
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A member of the band Heatmiser, Elliot Smith recorded home demos on any equipment he could get his hands on. His first "solo" album is a cheap four-track home recording that hints at the melodic possibilities Smith would explore in greater detail on subsequent releases. The title track is remarkable but with four songs referred to in sequential order as "No Name #1," "No Name #2," etc. ... the inspiration isn't always fully firing. Blessed with a quiet angelic voice and a lyrical mind that easily transforms the squalid details of everyday life into something worth hearing about twice, Smith stood on the verge of getting it on. With his next, self-titled release, he did.--Rob O'Connor
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Can't understand why it's rated lower than the others
Jeffrey Mansell | New Wilmington, PA USA | 07/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I know that all albums, especially when compared by fans of an artist, come down to a matter of opinion, but I feel compelled to give mine: this is my favorite.I own all of Smith's album releases and treasure them all, but while most people seem to rank Either/Or first on their lists, I put it at least third. It's just how I feel about the songwriting. Roman Candle is the second of his that I heard and the one I most often go back to. Here's why:It's not the under-production, because I never really care about that. It's the simplified suggestiveness of the songwriting that tells you he can do more, but he knows he doesn't have to. The non-specific song titles (No Name #1) have never bothered me because they speak so well for themselves. It's not a long album, but it's strong from start to finish. It seems to reach its climax at "Last Call," a tremendous song by any standards, and then delivers the instrumental "Kiwi maddog 20/20" as a sort of afterthought. That last one is in a style that's hard for my friends and me to typify. And that lack of type is what makes this album so great to me.It is his debut solo work, as far as I know, and it certainly sounds like a man finding his voice, which is not to say he is less than qualified (as my rating of 5 stars indicates) but rather he is new in his confidence as a writer.Simply put, it's fantastic. There are few albums I can recommend as strongly."
Sweet audio treats in their natural habitat
Jeffrey Mansell | 07/20/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone familliar with Elliott Smith's work knows that to say his style is confessional is a severe understatement. You're heart breaks for him; the stories of late night drinking and aimlessly wandering around lost in a wistful blue circle of contemplation, the dangerously quiet anger that is only hinted at, the achingly sweet attempts to apologize. His tiny whispers emit more power than an air raid siren; try to conjure an image of a cartoon lion roaring and all the trees blowing back- it's kind of like that. In "Roman Candle" you get to experience the contradictory nature of Smith's songwriting that makes his songs so appealing. Recorded quite simply on a 4track, there is virtually no production and the songs get to speak entirely for themselves. And, boy, do they speak! Even without full instrumentation, Elliott manages to craft these intricate little gems that shine with no need for sunlight. Granted, it's rough, but i would rather hear this low-fi piece of genuine art than listen to a glossy album by some band whose songs wouldn't have a foot to stand on without the aid of a shrewd producer. Be patient with this album; it may take some time to really get it, but when you do, you'll be so glad to be there."
Outstanding (if brief) debut
Thomas Aikin | San Diego, CA | 07/14/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"To those more familiar with Elliott's recent albums on Dreamworks (XO, Figure 8) the folky-minimalism of his debut will be a signifcant departure. "Roman Candle," recorded while he was still a member of the punk/grunge/whatever group "Heatmiser," is gloriously barren and unproduced. (Believe its to a four-track tape recorder in his living room) While the arrangements are fairly simple (rarely more than Smith and a guitar or two) his songwriting was already fully formed. Additionally, the sparseness gives way to the intensely personal lyrics which are his most troubled and intriguing. The album is a bit brief (Only around thirty minutes) but there are no dud songs and a couple are among my very favorites. "Roman Candle" is a stirring portrait of bottled rage and "Condor Ave" is just absolutely haunting. I think comparisons of Elliott to Bob Dylan and especially Nick Drake are reasonable. His lyrics have that ineffability to them. An important aspect to his songwriting is his background in punk. His guitar technique is often pretty aggressive and he says what he needs to and gets out of the way, resulting in short effective songs. I can't really decide whether this, his self-title second album, or Either/Or is my album of his more spartan indie recordings but that consistency is a testament to the excellence of Elliott Smith's abilities. If you're an Elliott Smith album, his humble beginnings are a must hear. For anyone else Roman Candle, I think is the best introduction to him."