[Album Review] Elura- Everything You Loved Will Be Carried Away
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Release Date: October 19th, 2015
Label: Midden Records

Like the elusive band that created it, ‘Everything You Loved Will Be Carried Away’ is an album shrouded in an enigmatic haze. The vocals are often buried deep in the mix – muffled, obscured, distant. It is difficult to discern what is being said. Are these songs of love or of mourning? Or dread? Perhaps they are all these things.

There is unity to this sprawling album (a generous 17 tracks), a common theme. That feeling of desolation, of being alone in a vast frost-encrusted field. The icy chill comes from death or loneliness or the end of love. But, just as with a wintery landscape, there is undoubtedly beauty.

Elura evokes these feelings through the use of its dark ambient folk music. In the spare, but highly effective, use of electric guitar and distortion there is also a hint of the sinister, or even the perverse. It’s as if these are the ballads on a very heavy death metal album. And then there are flourishes of artsy sophistication, such as the drama in the (synth) strings, the terror in the eerie scratching, and the welcoming warmth in the crackling of burning wood.

At its heart it is ambient folk to be sure, but it also so much more. Gentle dream-gaze is woven into the dark folk of “Statues/Alone in the Winter” and “Never Coming Home” leans towards indie (think The National). Chamber pop works its way into “AmCEm” and there are even some hip-hop-style glitches in the dirge “I’m Done”. Some of the subtle touches are brilliant (the echoing guitar work towards the end of “We Will All Laugh As We Die Sleeping (Come Reap), the sound of flutes embedded in “Joshua”) and belie the record’s ostensible simplicity.

The one thing that the album does lack is any whiff of a hook. Anywhere. Far from being a weakness, this is actually its ultimate strength because it keeps the focus on mood and atmosphere, which is what this record is all about – a grim mood and a bleak but beautiful atmosphere.