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ELLIS, TIMO


TIMO ELLIS 

“Death Is Everywhere” EP

By Dr. Abner Mality

Who is TIMO ELLIS, many of you may ask. I know I did. Well, it turns out this multi-talented dude has produced a body of work that makes Finland’s CIRCLE look lazy, working with names like WEEN, THE MELVINS, JOHN ZORN and that most dreaded and feared of all musical artists, YOKO ONO! But his real baby is prolific alt-rock band NETHERLANDS, which I’ve run into a time or two and liked. On this 4 track EP, TIMO did literally everything...he’s a total one man band.

This is a surprisingly entertaining and enjoyable listen, despite a few hiccups. And parts of this are super-heavy...not really in a “metal” way, but more along the lines of TORCHE and even SONIC YOUTH. The low tuned basic frequencies on this sucker will test your speaker system...the hard parts are thick and sludgy to the max. Yet in many other aspects, TIMO’s music is extremely pop oriented, with vocal melodies reminiscent of bands like BADFINGER and even THE BEACH BOYS! Yet the attitude is often snotty, “alternative” and pretty foul mouthed in points.

“Vampire Rodeo” starts with an urgent, simple beat and bored, kind of hipsterish narration. Then the sludge hits and your woofers will crumble. You might want to shoot me, but I call this alternative sludge pop genius. There’s some cool, almost jazzy bass-drum interplay, too...something which pops up throughout the EP. The title track just CRUSHES with more brilliantly basic sludge riffs out of the TORCHE playbook, but the vocals seem to be taken from a Motown soul template. This combination works incredibly well and this song is my favorite. If you ever dug FAITH NO MORE, you should have no trouble with this. This guy ELLIS has my full attention now.

“Evolve or Die” has a quick, cool bass lick mixed with snappy drumming propelling it. Mysterious whispers come in and then the head-crushing sludge returns with a vengeance. Yet then some poppy scat vocals like something from a 70’s jazz rock pop up. Last track “Left Without An Answer” is where my patience gets tested a bit. This has got a ton of BEACH BOYS type accapella vocal gymnastics and 60’s pop touches. The heavy sludge is here, but not as much...it’s a cut for pop vocal experimentation. 

I’d sure like to hear a whole LP of material like this. TIMO knows how to compose music that is super commercial yet underground at the same time, if that makes sense. This was a nice break from my usual listening.