Elliott Brood Ambassador

There is a unique mysteriousness surrounding murder ballads that no other style can lay claim to. Listening to murder ballads is like waiting for a gun to go off; most of the suspense develops in what is unsaid, but because whatever is uttered is usually unimportant in the moment. Kitchener, ON-based Elliott Brood’s murder ballads toy eerily with those emotions that fester in the unsaid, and Ambassador, their sophomore release and first on Six Shooter illustrates that beautifully. Based on a historical context that conjures up images of the love, frustration and death that dotted the CN Rails in Canada’s nascent years, Elliott Brood’s twanged-up balladry is a foreboding, introspective feast, making one wonder why these people sung about in "Jackson” and "Johnny Rooke” ever travelled in the first place. Vocalist Casey LaForet sounds like Shannon Hoon’s beat-up cousin, dealing with the anger, joblessness and desolation on the frontier. Still, there is a hopeful optimism in tow with La Foret, creating a brooding, dark listen that lays down the murder ballad/dark country ethic while proving how uplifting such music can often be. (Six Shooter)