Eli Mardock – NE Sorrow Is Born (EP Review)

Eli Mardock is no newcomer to music.  He’s the former front man of the band “Eagull Seagull” and he’s got a wealth of experience in singing, songwriting and recording.  But his new EP is his first solo effort.

Justin Gerish has mixed a six track EP which is moody, gloomy and highly atmospheric.  Nebraska born Eli Mardock’s music evokes bands like “The Strokes” and especially “Muse”.  The EP showcases his songwriting and his distinctive sullen vocal style.

The EP opens with “The World Yawns”, an emotional and atmospheric track which is something of an epic.  Shifting tone three times as it builds to its muted but very uplifting crescendo, this is probably the best individual showcase of Eli’s work on the EP.

“Cut Me Open” arrives next like a shower of cold rain.  A gloomy bleak track that scratches away like a forlorn alley-cat, it’s lyrics are very dark and it’s not a fun listen.

This is followed up by the EP’s one real misfire; the unfortunately named “Sex Power” tumbles into view and then collapses on-stage.  An ambitious attempt at a muted but steamy song falls apart under the weight of its own pretension.  Some of the lyrics were agonising to listen to and the track almost feels like a “Spinal Tap” style parody.

Luckily things get back on track with the mounrful dirge of “You Should have Seen Your Face”, which strongly evokes early Muse (or perhaps even early Radiohead) with its bleak, storm drenched lyrics.

Things take a turn for the more creative with the slow, strange and eerie “Creator Computer” which is much more interesting than the previous two tracks.  At times sounding a little like 80’s icon Gary Numan, this song is well worth a listen.

Finally the album finishes with the eponymous “Sorrow Is Born”, a long atmospheric instrumental track that evokes a sort of weird period drama.  Blending old style strings and some modern synth, this is a muted but interesting way for the EP to end.

All in all, “Sorrow Is Born” is a very interesting EP which offers a snapshot of a talented musician who appears to have found a distinct, if downcast voice.  His work is arty and it’s no coincidence that I’ve used the word atmospheric so many times, the whole EP is drowning in bleak sadness.

If that sounds like your poison, then I’d suggest giving this EP a listen.  It was interesting enough that I’ll be keeping an ear open for Eli’s follow up EP later this year.

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