Album Review: Elizabeth & the Catapult – Taller Children

Elizabeth & the Catapult - Taller Children

Elizabeth & the Catapult - Taller Children

Despite what could be construed as a strangely typical name for this era of music, Elizabeth & the Catapult are hardly the typifying outfit of the accompanying sound. Inflected with vocals with a style more keen on jazz than post-punk and an outright affinity for Cocteausian dream pop, Taller Children is something “new” from the outset.

Elizabeth & the Catapult — “Taller Children” | download

Produced largely by Saddle Creek alumnus Mike Mogis — the one exception is the titular track, which was produced by Jim Eno of Spoon and the dubious-careered Jon Kaplan (who has produced such masterworks as … the Jonas Brothers!) — Taller Children is a solid pop record with a cheerful melodic bent taking the musical front seat in the recording, and the production supports that without becoming intrusive. Never does a song sound overproduced or forced, much to the album’s benefit.

Elizabeth & the Catapult take their good pop sensibilities, merge them with good songwriting, and top it off with gentle, proven production to create a record that will satisfy the appetites of pop-lovers across the globe. Taller Children — replete with catchy hooks, engaging rhythm, and vocals that occupy a new niche of indie pop — is memorable for the best reasons. It shifts seamlessly between being upbeat and infectious and taking a more slow, introspective approach.

Taller Children has tracks ranging from pure, innocent indie pop (“Momma’s Boy”) and seductive neo-jazz (“Right Next to You”) to a string-laden Leonard Cohen cover (“Everybody Knows”) and jazz-inflected bluegrass (“Complimentary Me”) — the diversity isn’t overwhelming, but it is refreshing, and it keeps the album from becoming yet another homogenous effort from a promising act. Elizabeth & the Catapult now have a real task ahead of them: Produce a second album that’s engaging, interesting, and different enough from this release to make a mark on the dense landscape of indie pop. If I’m to guess, this act is up to it.

Released June 9, 2009 on Verve Forecast

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