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El Ten Eleven: El Ten Eleven

El Ten Eleven: El Ten Eleven

Label:Bar None
Release Date:2005

By Raymond Cummings | Posted 10/5/2005

Los Angeles-based duo El Ten Eleven plays instrumental postrock so startlingly alive with dewdrop sparkle and melodic élan that the urge to sing along with lyrics that aren’t there is unshakable. On its eponymous debut, drummer Tim Fogarty and guitarist/bassist Kristian Dunn deftly insinuate pop moves and pedal-effects flourishes into their expansive, expressive languor.

“Fanshawe” initially forecasts snore-core, with placid drums and load-bearing bass trailing into pretty monotony. But the pace gradually gathers momentum, with wooly, synthlike guitar squiggles erupting briefly before giving way to cycling, reverberating chimes. “My Only Swerving” pairs passive-aggressive beats with sampled handclaps, a fine foil for Dunn’s concave slide guitar. “Sorry About Your Irony” is heaped with iridescent, chatty guitar and snare smashes, about as placid and pastoral as a babbling brook can get.

This eminently listenable, nimbly fun disc turns somber at its end. El Ten Eleven is dedicated to the memory of Dunn’s mother, making the duo’s parting shot all the more affecting in its relatively traditional postrock simplicity. Solemnly titled “Bye Mom,” it offers little more than pealing, gossamer plucking over muted bass blooms, suddenly and cruelly silenced by a slamming door.

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