Reviewed by Susan Lloyd
Galactic Conquest by Eleventyseven
"This is an album that has some great musical moments, thought provoking lyrics, and a big sound that will undoubtedly translate well into a stage show."
Sometimes doing a CD review is a little bit like buying a grab bag at your favorite store. You know the ones that have the contents hidden because they are contained in a brown paper bag tied with ribbon? You always hope for the real treasure, the real deal. I had very little experience listening to Eleventyseven prior to this assignment, and I have to say that I had no idea what I was getting into. And like the grab bag that gives up the real treasure, this CD is full of pleasant surprises.
For fans of the pop-punk genre, Eleventyseven is a welcome addition to the roster of other bands like Relient K and Stellar Kart who are masters at their craft. But Eleventyseven makes their mark on the genre by adding fresh synth sounds to almost every track. These bright electronic sounds are credited to the band member known as Rockbot who is quite possibly the only robot employed in the music industry at the time. The quirkiness of having a robot as a band member is a hallmark of the band who also has an entire song on the disc devoted to the virtues of The Conan O-Brian show.
But don’t let that quirkiness fool you into thinking this quartet (if a robot truly counts as a fourth band member) isn’t serious about musicianship or crafting quality lyrics. Band members Matt Langston (lead singer, guitarist), Caleb Satterfield (bass), Jonathan Stephens (drums), and the aforementioned Rockbot (keys, rude electronic noises) originate from Greenville, South Carolina and for this, their second album had the good fortune of working with producer Ian Eskelin. The result is an album that has some great musical moments, thought provoking lyrics, and a big sound that will undoubtedly translate well into a stage show.
Most songs on the CD exhibit that great pop-punk sound of frantic drums underlining straight-toned tenor lead vocals and a bass line that adds as much percussion to the mix as anything else. One of the things eleventyseven does best is to infuse tight vocal harmonies into several of the songs. “Retail Value” not only has some of the most straightforward lyrics on the CD but also features one of the best acappella breaks I’ve heard in a while. In many ways, what happens vocally on this CD reminds me of early Relient K.
Another impressive musical moment is in the song “Conan”. I had to listen to the running bass line that takes over the song midway through more than one time. I was utterly fascinated with the speed at which the moving line was played. Kudos to Caleb Satterfield for that one! And one of the most intriguing musical moments is in the hidden track titled “Program Terminated” which is a fun electronica piece that is almost entirely instrumental.
“Program Terminated” is the only instrumental piece on the CD, and “It’s Beautiful” is the only acoustic track in the collection. “It’s Beautiful” is like an oasis of sound in the CD because it’s such a change from the punk pace of the other tracks. The lyrics are clear, strong, solid and are enhanced by the stripped down treatment of the song. The chorus:
beautiful. You can turn mistakes to miracles.
The way that You still love me after all
aptly describes the beauty of the way we are loved by our Father creator. I’m also impressed with the lyrics on the upbeat, infectious track “Happiness” with the central theme of the song being expressed in the chorus that says:
that I’d found
But Your love is so much deeper
Even though my life’s a mess
I love you more than happiness.
Overall, I was so much more impressed with this CD than I thought I would be, and the more I listened, the more I liked. The only negative is that several of the tracks have a tendency to sound alike as they are written in the same key (thanks to my friend Matthew who has perfect pitch for that bit of insight). And eleventyseven has proven they can create a moving acoustic song, so more of that on the next CD would be a welcome addition. My own kids LOVE this CD and love to sing along when they hear these tracks in the car, but the best thing is, there’s enough maturity and musicianship in it to keep me interested as well.
You can check out where eleventyseven is touring on their myspace at www.myspace.com/eleventyseven or go to their website at www.eleventysevenrock.com to view all their fun videos, purchase the CD and sign up to be included on their email list.
Susan Lloyd is a professional photographer in Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in shooting concerts. She holds a degree in Music Education and has worked as a worship leader and as a youth minister. She is passionate about all types of music and enjoys encouraging and supporting bands who seek to glorify God. She also loves movies, animals, traveling, and making new friends. She and her husband have three kids and have been married for nearly 17 years. More info about Susan's photography can be found at www.susanlloydphotography.com or www.susieq3c.wordpress.com