Elysian Fields: Queen of the Meadow

Elysian Fields
Queen of the Meadow

With song titles such as “Tides of the Moon” and “Fright Night,” it’s obvious where Elysian Fields’ interests lie. Exploring the darker sides of life with their unsettling beautiful mix of jazz and rock with a classical sensibility, Elysian Fields’ music is how popular music of the future could have been envisioned at the turn of the century while remaining eerily modern. Like the spirits that are suppose to walk the day Queen of the Meadow will be released, Elysian Fields exist is a reality that is not quite ours.

Combining the seductively haunted voice of singer Jennifer Charles and the ornate compositions of Oren Bloedow, Queen of the Meadow is all candlelight and shadows. Despite the somber mood of their music, Elysian Fields never feel oppressive. Instead, they delightfully deconstruct the darkness with their use of everything from violins to synthesizers. The combinations they create are unusual and effective.

While the subject matters that Elysian Fields takes on are easily cliched, they bring an elegantly fresh perspective to them. Without being weighed down in theatrics, Queen of the Meadow is unpretentious while singing of death and the night. “You were touched by too many hands…why did you get soft? I don’t understand…” Charles sings mournfully on “Barely Recognize You.” She also declares “never be ashamed my love, our hearts are open graves” on the surprisingly upbeat “Hearts Are Open Graves.”

The one song that becomes tiresome on Queen of the Meadow is “Rope of Weeds,” the tale of a sailor finding a drowned girl during his journey. While it is an intriguingly creepy story, it is too dramatic to truly fit in with the rest of the album.

The surprising gem on Queen of the Meadow is its title track, with vocals by Bloedow, this misty song is driven by acoustic guitar and evokes moonlit fields and otherworldly spirits. It is the definite high point.

Gorgeously delves into the mysteries of the darkness with grace and intelligence, Elysian Fields masterfully evokes both the present and the past without fully belonging to either. Queen of the Meadow is the perfect soundtrack for this Halloween or any other twilight time.