The mid-90s were kind of an awesome time to be in college (yes, children, I’m THAT old). Sure, fashion and TV kinda sucked, but there was a renaissance happening in music festivals. Lollapalooza, Lilith Fair, Woodstock ’94: this was a great time to be hi…ahem… highly into live music. Local songwriter Elijah Ben’s debut album, filled with folk-rock that would sound at home on a DMB bootleg, captures the nostalgia of those days spent dancing on the grass to jam bands and alt-rockers.
The album opens with a raucous start in Serenity, which gave me a fever and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL! It’s an example of the unusual instrumentation present though out Prophetic Technology. Present herein are drummer Adam Demby, Coleen Wickdahl’s lovely violin, Stiv Pek on the trombone, Tim Lennane and his soulful harmonica and many more. Elijah has surrounded himself with some of Nagoya’s brightest; taking a page from the Dave Matthews playbook.
The album comes across as very personal, a labor of love and loss. Once In A While is a Dylan-esque look at heartbreak that takes no prisoners. With a chorus like “Time will tell who’s going to hell… I hope I see you there”, Elijah shows himself as a songwriter not afraid to lay his life out for all to hear.
Then, at about the halfway point, I became certain that he was trolling his audience. From the elephant trumpets in Elephant In The Room to the Electric Six-vibe of the hard-rocking BDH, he shows an unexpected sense of humor that is very refreshing in this world of indie bands who take themselves way too seriously.
Like any decent jam album, most of these songs are not meant for casual listening. Even with only 10 tracks, the CD clocks in at nearly 60 minutes. Album closer Zeitgeist, a trippy and uplifting anthem, is ten minutes alone.
But whether the song is sentimental, spiritual or humorous, it all sounds crisp and clear. It’s yet another feather in the cap of local director and producer Steve Pottinger, whose KPB Studios oversaw the arrangement of Prophetic Technology, as well as several of the albums released in Nagoya recently.
As good as this album sounds; Elijah Ben’s music is even better live. You can experience Prophetic Technology for yourself when he plays Coat of Arms in Fushimi on April 28. You can pick up copies of the album there, but why wait. Download it now at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElijahBen.