|Elizabeth And The Catapult — Like It Never Happened (2014)|
Elizabeth And The Catapult — Like It Never Happened
♦♦ A Sonic Step Forward for Ziman. Indie pop trio with NYC downtown vibe, led by seductive songwriting chanteuse Elizabeth Ziman.
Birth name: Elizabeth Ziman
Formed: 2004 in Brooklyn, NY
Similar artists: Inara George, Sara Bareilles, Laura Nyro, Ingrid Michaelson, Aimee Mann, Joni Mitchell, Christina Perry, Norah Jones, Regina Spektor, A Fine Frenzy
Influenced by: Aimee Mann, Laura Nyro, Joni Mitchell, 10,000 Maniacs, Alana Davis, Carpenters, Elysian Fields, Morcheeba, Patti Rothberg, Poe, Stevie Wonder, Swing Out Sister, Talking Heads, Wild Strawberries
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Album release: 21 January 2014
Record Label: Scratchback Records
01 Happy Pop 3:49
02 Like It Never Happened 2:43
03 Salt Of The Earth 3:46
04 Shoelaces 4:22
05 Someday Soon 4:13
06 More Than Enough 2:43
07 Please Yourself 3:16
08 Wish I Didn´t 3:54
09 True Love Will Find You In The End 4:06
10 Sugar Covered Poison 3:06
11 Last Opus 4:30
℗ 2014 Scratchback Records
♦♦ All songs written by Elizabeth Ziman
♦♦ Dan Molad
♦♦ Danny Molad
♦♦ Elizabeth Ziman
♦♦ Pete Lalish
♦♦ Lauren Balthrop Clapping, Ukulele, Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Clay Blair Additional Production
♦♦ Jason Blynn Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Alicia Chekour Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Jake Goldman Mixing Assistant
♦♦ Maggie Gyllenhaal Clapping, Stomping
♦♦ Ramona Gyllenhaal Clapping, Stomping
♦♦ Daniel Johnston Composer
♦♦ Kimi Mongello Design, Photography, Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Fay Koplovitz Cover Art Direction
♦♦ Shervin Lainez Cover Photo
♦♦ Pete Lalish Bass, Guitars (Ac. + El.), Juno, Korg Synthesizer, Piano, Producer
♦♦ Jeff Lipton Mastering
♦♦ Paul Loren Bass, Drum Machine, Mixing Assistant, Percussion, Piano, Producer, Violin, Voc.backgr
♦♦ Adam Minkoff Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Dan Molad Bass, Drums, Guitar (Acoustic), Juno, Mixing, Percussion, Producer, Synthesizer Bass
♦♦ Rob Moose String Arrangements, Strings
♦♦ Phil Krohnengold String Arrangements
♦♦ Aynsley Powell Drums
♦♦ Maria Rice Mastering Assistant
♦♦ Reggie Watts Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Jess Wolfe Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Diva Zappa Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Elizabeth Ziman Composer, Guitar (Acoustic), Juno, Mellotron, Organ, Piano, String Pads, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
♦♦ Max ZT Dulcimer
Album Moods: Quirky Witty Wry Amiable/Good~Natured Atmospheric Earnest Elegant Warm Confident Cosmopolitan Playful Poignant Intimate Smooth
Themes: Empowering Healing/Comfort Heartbreak Sunday AfternoonDescription:
♦♦ After the success of Elizabeth & the Catapult’s critically acclaimed 2010 album The Other Side Of Zero, Elizabeth Ziman went underground. Seeking a new perspective, she learned guitar and starting busking in the subways of Brooklyn. She also played drums for her friend Kishi Bashi, partnered up with her friend Paul Brill to write music for film (Knuckleball, Sexy Baby, The Other Shore), taught classical piano and wrote the songs that eventually became her new album, Like It Never Happened.
♦♦ Ziman had originally intended to work with songwriter Richard Swift on Happened, but after Swift joined the Shins they put the project on hold, and she reunited with her old friends and bandmates Dan Molad and Pete Lalish, who played in the Catapult before forming their group Lucius.
Written by Hal Horowitz January 22nd, 2014 at 12:39 pm
♦♦♦♦ The third full length from Elizabeth Ziman and her band finds the classically based pianist learning guitar, adding the textures of that instrument to complex yet oddly hummable pop music. The singer~songwriter pushes the boundaries of her genre, bringing graceful jazz, oblique chord changes, pensive lyrics and even string backing to a table that manages to seem both familiar and complex.
♦♦♦♦ There are echoes of Regina Spektor, Suzanne Vega, Fiona Apple and others that combine simplicity with a broader outlook as Ziman does when she goes glam on the rocked up “Shoelaces” with its galloping rhythm section. It follows the stripped down yet winding percussion, viola and piano driven “Salt of the Earth.” Strains of music hall push “Sugared Poison” and “Please Yourself” which twists and wiggles like a flag in the wind, sometimes righting itself but more often daring you to chase its zig~zagging song structure. The melancholy solo piano and voice of “True Love Will Find You in the End” leaves you wondering if the singer really means what she says.
♦♦♦♦ Ziman’s husky voice manages to be buoyant, brash, tender and sympathetic as she sells these songs by sheer confidence. The album’s eleven tunes only take about 40 minutes to unwind, but the sprawling, widescreen sensibility makes it seem longer. That’s not a criticism, just an acknowledgement this is not for easy listening, dancing or background enjoyment. These are multifaceted, intelligently constructed pieces that never pander to commercial concerns or lower common denominator sensibilities. They push and prod the listener to re~evaluate what pop is by slithering away from established constructions while retaining basics such as the occasional memorable chorus to entice you back.
♦♦♦♦ While this is surely not for everyone, those whose tastes aren’t constrained by traditional notions and are willing to go with Ziman’s somewhat oblique, even aloof flow, will find plenty of reasons to spend the requisite time getting comfortable with her unique style and genre expanding approach. Fortaken: http://www.americansongwriter.com/
By Taylor Coe 24 February 2014 Score: 6
A Sonic Step Forward for Ziman
♦♦♦♦ Enter Elizabeth Ziman, no longer just another piano~pop songstress. Wanting to busk in the subways of New York City, Ziman took up acoustic guitar and it may have been the best thing for her. All of the songs on Like It Never Happened were written on the guitar, with those fitting the bill transposed onto piano. The result is easily her most engaging and dynamic album yet.
♦♦♦♦ Nothing wrong with 2009’s Taller Children and 2010’s The Other Side of Zero, both of which contained a number of charming pop songs blessed with superb hooks and a light jazzy touch. But many of them felt a bit flat, some a little too tidy for their own good, some of them a little too languid. But it’s not just Ziman’s songwriting that feels sharper here. The production talent of former bandmates Dan Molad and Pete Lalish (the former “Catapult”, if you will) really takes center stage here. The soundscape they fashion is a warm and open one, drawing heavily on ‘60s pop. Molad and Lalish brought the same production savvy to their current band Lucius’s 2013 Wildewoman, which showcased similar retro tendencies.
♦♦♦♦ Ziman opens things up with “Happy Pop”, an apt companion tune to Sara Bareilles’s wonderfully smug “Love Song”, though Ziman plays it more vulnerable than Bareilles does. While “Love Song” is snide about the corporate attitude of her record label — projecting the need for a generic hit song solely onto her label overlords — Ziman can’t help but acknowledge her own need for such a song as well. For her, the archetypal “happy pop song” isn’t a marketable piece of music; it’s a genuine attempt to live up to everyone’s expectations. The song’s mantra is “Are you proud?” She wants not only her record label feeling pleased with her, but her own parents as well: “I made my old man smile / Make him tap his knees.”
♦♦♦♦ The title track of the album continues the thread of ambivalence, with Ziman telling a romantic interest: “I know I seem sincere / I meant it when I said it / but once the lights go up / it will be like it never happened.” As sure as she appears there, the entire song still seems couched in romantic hopefulness; she meant it when she said it, but might not mean it anymore? It’s hard to tell. The ambivalence is more open, even silly, on a song like “Wish I Didn’t”, which starts off with the near-cringeworthy statement “Wish I didn’t give a fuck / Wish I didn’t curse so goddamn much.” Charting a course straight through Ingrid Michaelson territory with soft “ba~ba~bump” ~ing and pizzicato strings — not to mention a little ukelele! — Ziman offers us a fine contrast between the fraught lyrics and the pleasant backing.
♦♦♦♦ Towards the end of Like It Never Happened, Ziman presents “Sugared Poison”, easily the best Fiona Apple imitation I’ve yet encountered, where she mimics not only Apple’s jarring, nearly carnivalesque piano but her lyrical play, toying with assonance and consonance with phrases like “my list of what~ifs” and “sticky sweet sweat / covered in regret”. That said, loose imitation doesn’t really serve Ziman. Similar problems arise with her cover of Daniel Johnston’s “True Love Will Find You in the End”, as she simply can’t convey Johnston’s naive charm.
♦♦♦♦ The tough lesson learned from this album is that Ziman still hasn’t located her own sound. As good as Like It Never Happened can be, it’s ultimately less a cohesive entity of its own and more like a mishmash between great pop songwriting, especially the tunes “Happy Pop” and “Shoelaces”, and the flighty, inspired production of Molad and Lalish. Fortaken: http://www.popmatters.com/
♦♦♦♦ As a band Elizabeth and the Catapult has released two full length albums under Verve Records and one self titled EP, which the band produced and released on their own. Their first LP, Taller Children (2009), was recorded with producer Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes), which featured “Tilly and the Wall” and was bolstered by Commercials for Google, Amazon and Sky TV. Their second full length, The Other Side of Zero (2010) was produced by Tony Berg (Aimee Mann, Jesca Hoop) and featured Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings on the title track. This album drew interest from actress Anne Hathaway, who used the song “Thank You For Nothing” to inspire her for her main scene (hair cutting) in Les Miserables. Hathaway later cast Elizabeth as a street musician in an upcoming film about New York Musicians. Over the last three years, Elizabeth has toured with Sara Bareilles, Greg Laswell, Lenka, and Kishi Bashi. In the last year, she played drums in Kishi Bashi’s band, and sang backgrounds for The Waterboys and The Shins. She’s recently finished a new EP with her songwriting muse Mr. Richard Swift and is set to release a full length she made with Dan Molad (Lucius, Here We Go Magic) in January.
♦♦♦♦ 2006 Elizabeth & the Catapult (Elizabeth & the Catapult)
♦♦♦♦ 2009 Taller Children (Verve Forecast)
♦♦♦♦ 2010 The Other Side of Zero (Verve Forecast)
♦♦♦♦ 2014 Like It Never Happened (Thirty Tigers) AWARDS:
♦♦♦♦ 2014 Like It Never Happened Top Heatseekers #16
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ★★★
♦♦♦♦ After parting company with Verve Forecast after 2010’s The Other Side of Zero, Elizabeth Ziman began learning how to play guitar and busking in New York subways. Since her previous two albums were written on piano — her first instrument — new possibilities presented themselves for this offering. There are nine new songs on this set, as well as a cover. Former bandmate Dan Molad helmed most of these sessions, and this cast of players is small. The dynamic nature of the guitar is evident in many of her new compositions, though she hasn’t forsaken her piano. Opener “Happy Pop” continues to reflect her similarity to Sara Bareilles, but the leaner production aesthetic is more dynamic. The title track, with its meld of acoustic and electric guitars, brushed percussion, string pads, and layered backing vocals, is breezy and stirring. “Someday Soon,” with acoustic guitars and Rob Mouse on strings, melds Americana and pop, employing a simple yet effective melody and a lovely lyric. “Please Yourself,” with its crunchy guitars, stacked organs, and brittle percussion, is lyrically poignant as well as melodically infectious. The faux doo wop on “Wish I Didn’t” underscores a bitter love song whose lyric is a tad cloying as it goes out of its way to highlight curse words against the sweet backing vocal track and a fine musical arrangement. Ziman’s reading of Daniel Johnston’s transcendent “True Love Will Find You in the End” may not be quite as powerful as the songwriter’s, but it is truly effective and will likely make this song more palatable to listeners not exposed to or drawn in by his own singing. As a whole, Like It Never Happened benefits from its lower~budget production. It is, if anything, more imaginative than her previous albums. And Ziman’s songwriting, while consistently in the grain she previously established, is more intimate and immediate here. (www.allmusic.com)
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|Elizabeth And The Catapult — Like It Never Happened (2014)|