My knowledge of Eluvium is limited to say the least. Yet after hearing the simple yet stunning melody of ‘An Accidental Memory In Case of Death’, I was intrigued to broaden my Eluvium based trivia. Having been recommended me by a friend notorious for dipping into the more avante garde side of neo-classical music, I braced myself for an onslaught of God Speed You Black Emperor style musings; yet whilst Similes did verge on the Silver Mt Zion side of the genre, it is by no means a classical copy-cat.
The album opens with a weird medley of unusual percussion, strings and a spoken introduction that brings to mind the scary tunnel scene in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The lyrics are hauntingly beautiful, and the gentle timbre of his voice lends the song an almost lullaby-like quality, which detracts the somewhat oppressive nature of his world-contemplating lyrics.
The album progresses to a collection of purposely ill timed songs, which layer sounds over one another to create a kind of patch work melody that is incredibly considered. Cooper’s achingly beautiful piano work is lethargic and delayed, and ultimately spans the album, skipping only ‘Nightmare 5’. In lieu of his usual delicate piano work is a windswept three minutes of ebbing synthetic sounds, that conjure up images of magical glades, faeries and the like.
In short, the album contains all of the usual conventions of modern classical, yet doesn’t rely on ambiguous field noises, or pretentious vocals. Similes draws out all the subtler elements of Einaudi, Broderick and Glass, blending them together to make a seamless, ethereal album. Whilst listening to the album, I could not help but compare Eluvium to Rachel’s, yet I know not why: the vocals are different, the tone is infinitely less intense and the instrumental syntax is different. But despite my unjustifiable comparison, I could not help but mention this compelling link; perhaps because they both invoke such incredible emotions with their simplicity. Either way, if you are up for a swift half hour of contemplating-the-meaning-of-life style indulgence, this one is definitely worth a listen.