There may be a literal funeral pyre burning within the works Los Angeles-based Elouise, but that hardly slows down the macabre folk collective from entrancingly dark work on their debut record.
In the video for “Fire and Brimstone,” Elouise brings some gloomy fascination to form with a lo-fi surrender to the Link Wray classic. Elouise Walker and William Bongiovanni are playfully wry with their purgatory-like setting rife with percussive jawbones and furtive outfits that hearken back to a ditch digger’s wardrobe. In what the band defines as “blackgrass,” the group’s latest embodies the jaunty nature of bluegrass while diving deep into the black waters that surround the themes associated with pickin’.
“Our blackgrass version of “Fire and Brimstone” was inspired by early foot-stomping tent revivals and is comprised of primitive percussion and untethered harmonies,” the band shared with us. “We captured it live in the living room in just one take, using only a couple of mics. We wanted it to be spontaneous, raw and unproduced, like an old Alan Lomax field recording from the 1930s. The song was originally written in 1971 by father of the power chord, Link Wray, and, although our sound is a departure from the original, the lyrics were a perfect fit for our debut album Deep Water. The album captures the sounds of sin and salvation, mixing in a darker taste of bluegrass, a black symphonic sound and weary emotional vocals that tell original tales of struggle and re-imagine songs from our collective Americana consciousness. We approached the making of the video with the same raw immediacy of the song. We did not want it overproduced, and filmed and edited it in one day at the house.”
Elouise certainly succeeds in creating an antiquated and surreal experience with the record, exemplified on “Fire and Brimstone.” What makes Elouise succeed is crafting the song with a sensibility of vagabonds – the simple authenticity speaks for itself. With all of the bombastic summer tracks dropping at any given minute, here’s one that defies the unnecessary glee.
Elousie’s debut record Deep Water is out July 15, and can be pre-ordered here. For more information on the band, including upcoming tour dates, visit their site.
– Jake Tully