Elizabeth & the Catapult: The Other Side of Zero


RIYL: Aimee Mann, KT Tunstall, Diane Birch

Elizabeth Ziman spent a few years demo-ing and ultimately recording and releasing her debut under Elizabeth & the Catapult, Taller Children. But the follow-up took practically no time at all, and apparently flowed out of Ziman the way great writers often have waves of new material emanating from themselves. So here was Ziman, influenced all at once by Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing, and letting the music that would become her new album, The Other Side of Zero flow from her. Ziman’s a dead ringer for Aimee Mann vocally, but musically her stuff is darker and deeper. And oh yeah, it’s really, really good.

The Other Side of Zero begins with the piano romp, “We All Fall Down” and has other quirky yet instantly catchy tracks like “You & Me” and “The Horse & the Missing Cart.” There are songs that will remind you of Taller Children – witness the alternative love song “Julian, Darling” or the electronica-driven “Dreamcatcher.” But while Ziman and drummer Danny Molad make awesome music together, the one track on here that uses drums sparsely but may not need to is “Open Book.” This is one of those songs that is rife with simple beauty, one you hear and want to keep hitting “repeat,” and that has movie soundtrack written all over it. Best of all, as with all of Ziman’s work, there are elements of alternative, jazz, and pop – all with a rainy day feel running throughout, just the way she likes it. (Verve Forecast 2010)

Elizabeth & the Catapult website

  

Elizabeth & the Catapult: Taller Children

What do you get when you cross a classically trained but independently minded pianist with two folk/rock instrumentalists? You get a Joni Mitchell/Aimee Mann/Jenny Lewis hybrid, which is probably accurate when describing the music of New York City based trio Elizabeth & the Catapult. This jazzy alt-pop trio, fronted by singer Elizabeth Ziman, released an EP on their own in 2006 and then created enough of a buzz through touring that they were courted by major labels. But they ultimately signed with indie Verve Forecast, and the guess here is so that the group could maintain creative control, which is a good thing for all of us. Their full length debut, Taller Children, has two of the group’s best tracks from the EP, the bouncy and snarky “Momma’s Boy” and the dreamy, Jill Cunniff-ish “Right Next to You.” But there’s much more, with the rest of the LP continuing to jump between bouncy and dreamy, but Ziman and her cohorts deliver it all with precision and pizazz. Other standouts are the uber catchy title track, melancholy “Rainiest Day of Summer” and quirky “Everybody Knows.” (Verve Forecast 2009)

Elizabeth & the Catapult MySpace Page

  

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