Eleven: Awake In A Dream

awakeinadreamI think I first got into Eleven because they opened for Pearl Jam at the First Avenue mainroom back in 1991. That was back in the day when, if band B was opening for band A, and I loved band A, well then of course I should go out and buy every CD of band B because I’m sure I’ll love them, too.

It’s a strategy that held up surprisingly well in the early days, and Eleven was one of those early wins. I’m still following lead singer Alain Johannes around, recently reviewing his latest album on Ipecac.  This album, the band’s first, isn’t as good as I remember it–Johannes’ vocals are nasally and the keyboard sounds are a bit cheesy–but the songs are great and the performances perfect. Johannes’ stuff always comes out with a high degree of workmanship in the final product.

Highlights are throughout the album, even though nothing quite gets up to mixable: “Break The Spell,” “Learning To Be,” “Burning Your Bed,” “Flying,” and “Water And Power” probably make up the top five.

Johannes is a monster on guitar – musical, noisy, virtuosic, avant-garde…killer.

Rating:
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– “All Together,” “Break The Spell,” “Learning To Be,” “Rainbow’s End,” “Before Your Eyes,” “Burning Your Bed,” “Flying,” “I Wanna See No Back,” “You Are Mine,” “Water And Power,” “Down,” “Message To You”
Filed Between: Elevator Music, Arts High School 1998 and Eleven’s Eleven
Song Notes: After the jump

  1. All Together –
  2. Break The Spell – Great start.
  3. Learning To Be – Why do I have in my head this was a/the single?
  4. Rainbow’s End – I don’t remember this sounding as cheesy as it does.
  5. Before Your Eyes – This is awfully good. Worst part is chorus, so it doesn’t get full.
  6. Burning Your Bed – Awesome.
  7. Flying –
  8. I Wanna See No Back – The “oooh” parts in the bridge make up a cool contrapuntal thing. Very sophisticated.
  9. You Are Mine – This is great. Totally sweet, kickin’ backbeat. Nice little (little) funk thing going on here. Lots of ‘tude.
  10. Water And Power – Very fun.
  11. Down – Really cool beginning. “crying when the pain goes to eleven.” Chorus fine, but not great. Song as a whole is awesome. Guitar solo great.
  12. Message To You –
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