Howling Book


ORG Music, 2023

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


A Los Angeles alt-rock outfit who rubbed shoulders with some of the most noted from the genre, Eleven had a good run from 1990-2007. This fifth and final studio album arrived in 2003, and features Alain Johannes' guitar and Natasha Shneider on keyboards and bass (both on lead vocals, too), as well as Jack Irons (of Red Hot Chili Peppers and Pearl Jam fame) on drums. With this new ORG Music edition it’s available on vinyl for the first time, and comes with three previously unreleased bonus tracks.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The snappy, rhythmic “Show Me Something” opens the double LP and is packed with buzzing guitars and a thick presence of melody, and “Flow Like A River” follows with a dense spirit and thumping drums that spotlights Shneider’s sturdy yet harmonic pipes. Leading off Side B, the more intimate “Kill Me No More” brings dark balladry to the meticulous emphasis on mood, while the title track is piano focused in a poetic fashion that emits much grace.

Landing on the back half, “Hidden” places Johannes’ voice front and center, as the setting builds into a powerful, dreamy album highlight. “I Will Drink It All” then exits the original listen with a distinct warmth and an alluring haze of mystery. Of the unreleased tracks, “Don’t Get Me Down” is particularly noteworthy, where some post-punk nods are present alongside the expressive singing and thundering rhythm section.

Johannes and Irons formed a band with Flea and Hillel Slovak as teenagers, and Eleven toured with Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Queens Of The Stone Age and Candlebox. Though they never saw the mainstream success of those bands and friends, it certainly wasn’t from lack of talent, as this essential body of work proves that their songs have aged just as well as their peers.

Rating: A-

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