With Elena, the duo of Christa Meyer and Tim Kelley, aka Puerto Muerto, aim to create a dizzying carnival sound à la latter era Tom Waits, The Denver Gentlemen, or The Reverend Glasseye, but alas their vision exceeds their ability. Or at least their recording budget.
There are flashes of some great material on here — Meyer has a legitimately memorable voice and puts it to great use on cuts like the creepily oppressive “Pretty Girls” — but the opening tracks of the disc sound muddled and confused. It is difficult to say whether that’s because the tracks simply weren’t quite finished or if they were simply unable to capture what they wanted in the studio.
A trio of cuts — “Pretty Girls,” “Boy” and, “Paper Tigers” — have the beginnings of a classic disc, with two others (“Heartbreak” and the middle-eastern tinged “Light”) coming in close behind. If they had packaged just these five tracks together as an EP rather than also including the opening two numbers and a trio of largely unnecessary remixes, this would be one of the year’s more compelling discs rather than an overlong and thinly-stretched full-length.
Written by Chris Brown.