Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Eleven Dollar Life “Shatter The Silence”

I’ll be frank – I’m not a big fan of schizophrenic bands. Most musicians simply aren’t talented enough to blend two genres – let alone more than two. The mix often results in a mess weighted down in endless self-indulgence that might have been fun to play, but not fun to listen to.

Eleven Dollar Life is a five piece band trying to create a storm in the Windy city, stirring together all sorts of musical influences from rock, funk, blues, and even jazz, hoping to create their own identity in the end. The band is making some admirable strides by landing high prolife gigs thanks to their blossoming reputation as high energy performers. They generated some buzz in 2007 with an EP called “The Problem”, with their mix of funk and post-grunge rock drawing comparisons to Red Hot Chili Peppers and Incubus.

The aptly named “Shatter The Silence” marks Eleven Dollar Life’s full-length debut. “Wisconsin” starts things off with handclaps and a 1-2-3 go! Gets your blood pumping, but 3 minutes into this 5+ minute tune and it has already worn its welcome. “The Problem” is a more digestible meal – a feisty rocker with a driving beat and funky groove. “The Problem” is the shoe that fits the band best, and could walk them up to greater heights. “Acronym” is another attention-grabber, built on the catchiest guitar riff found on the record. The accurately named “Relief” is an acoustic-driven ballad that serves as the eye of the hurricane. Despite the dreadfully muddled tone of the strummed acoustic guitar, the tune is capably sung and features the most attractive melody I heard on the album. Most of the other tunes have some great individual elements and laudable ideas, but the band needs to iron out the wrinkles. The band seems to go out of their way to impress you with their diverse talents, even bringing in horns on occasion (“Zee”), but the hook gets lost in the chaos.

I’ve no doubt that Eleven Dollar Life put on a rousing live show, so try to check them out if you can. The fun they have on stage is likely to be contagious – I have to hope so, because I am not sure the music alone would be enough.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 4, 9

Eleven Dollar Life on MySpace. Official site.

Listen to “The Problem”