You Are Released is the fourth solo outing from Eldridge Rodriguez, co- fronter of Boston's post-punk luminaries, The Beatings. The product of a very fertile time, the album was written between and during the recording of The Beatings 2009's high water mark, Late Season Kids. The album was tracked at Taunton's Liberty & Union Studios with Ray Jeffrey and carries on Rodriguez' tradition of deftly deconstructing pop songs with noisy orchestration, beats, and loops. I can only imagine ER creating a pristine pop song and then breaking it down and adding a bit of cacophony. A little like what Wilco did on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, only You Are Released hits a lot harder.
Normally I end up listening to an album I'm slated to review several times, usually more. But with You Are Released it was more like a month of solid listening. Not because I didn't get it on the very first spin, I did. The issue was that once I started listening I didn't stop. After nearly a month of daily listening I feel ready to share some thoughts on what has quickly become one of my favorite album of 2011.
From the charging opener, The Big Windup to the gorgeous duet with local Americana starlet, Sarah Borges on Miss Me When I'm Gone, to Disposable Stars, a track that could easily be mistaken for a long lost Silkworm song. You Are Released hits on all of ER's strengths with jarring post-punk, smart indie pop, and lovely acoustic strummed ballads. All the while delivering his best lyrical compositions to date with tales of neglected responsibilities, hard drinking, and giving up. Defeat has never sounded better. And it certainly doesn't hurt that You Are Released is an absolute triumph.
Eldridge Rodriguez will play the Middle East, upstairs on May 12th.
Midriff Records|The Beatings|ER Facebook