‘Communicating Vessels’ by Future Elevators (Album)
Though each of its songs ploughs their own furrow, this remarkable debut LP somehow comes together as one coherent whole
Michael Shackleford, the frontman and creative force behind Future Elevators, describes his writing process as feeling “like there’s a radio station playing in my head, and if I can tune in to it, I can hear all the arrangements.” This is also an apt description for his band’s debut album, but rather than just listening to one station, it’s a knob-twiddling journey of discovery from start to finish.
Opening track Rome On A Saturday is a sliver of trippy alt-rock, which moves on to the elegant pop production of Modern World. Alabama Song, inspired by Shackleford’s home life in Birmingham, AL, is the album’s mini masterpiece as it evolves from crisp folk into a hazy end-of-day jam.
Elsewhere, It Is What It Is summons up some of Kurt Vile’s slouchy charm and Narcosis comes alive with Latin vibes. There’s even time for some rock grandstanding on Everything Everywhere, before the experimental sound collage of Aphrodite brings the album to a close.
Remarkably, rather than sounding disparate or fractured, there’s a common essence shared by all the tracks, with Shackleford’s dreamy vocals a constant pleasure. No matter what style of music he is picking up through his mind’s antenna, he is able to channel them into something beautiful of his own – it’s quite a remarkable feat.
Verdict: An affecting and ambitious debut album