October 05, 2005

El Ten Eleven "El Ten Eleven"

Instrumental music is always a dicey proposition; you’ve got to be original, you’ve got to sound good, and, most of all, you better know what the hell you're doing, else you'll wind up simply being boring. Luckily, the LA-based duo El Ten Eleven excel at all of the above. Having played together in The Incredible Moses Leroy, guitarist Kristian Dunn and drummer Tim Fogarty have a long-standing creative relationship, and this musical bond really shows. The songs on El Ten Eleven, the duo’s debut album, harmonize in a way not unlike many vocal bands, and it's not hard to understand why the two chose to continue their collaboration.

While many instrumental groups tend to favor a "more is more" approach to their songwriting, El Ten Eleven have an easy, gentle style that's really quite charming--a style that's light and pretty, but never to the point of being lightweight or boring. Your might not fall asleep by listening to "Sorry About Your Irony" or "1969," but they will mellow you out and make you feel comfortable after a long day of work. Don't think that being easy on the ears means that the music doesn't contain impressive musical ability, because Dunn is an excellent guitar player; just one listen to the intricate work on “My Only Swerving” or “Connie,” and you’ll quickly realize you’re listening to a very accomplished guitar player. Nothing on El Ten Eleven is too complicated, though; it’s simply a pleasant-sounding record that’s a treat to listen to.

El Ten Eleven is a lovely little record; it’s brief, but in its brevity, it’s extremely succinct, and it proves that this duo’s long-term collaboration is one that can produce beautiful, pretty music.

--Joseph Kyle

Artist Website: http://www.elteneleven.com
Label Website: http://www.bar-none.com

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