“I think the things that are good in us and the things that are dark are what makes us whole. Creating music that is always uplifting is boring in the same way that creating music that is always dark is boring. Life isn’t like that, it is more complicated,” explains Mid-western maverick singer/songwriter Eli Mardock. On his forthcoming full-length debut, Everything Happens For The First Time, Mardock’s sound balances the low orchestral dampness of Richard Ashcroft to the ethereal highs of Marc Bolan to even approaching gospel like swells of sound.
Taking its title from a poem by 20th Century Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges, Everything Happens For The First Time is the existential culmination of a life set to music. On the track “Everything Is Good,” Mardock declares himself as an anti-hero to the nihilist rock icons and proclaims… “I can kill myself or I can live, no more reason to die than to be alive.”
Initially establishing himself as vocalist of indie cult favorites Eagle Seagull (a band that Florence Welch championed and who toured with Tokyo Police Club and B-52’S), Eli Mardock’s penchant for dramatic and dream-like songs earned him a legion of followers over the past decade. Following on the heels of two highly regarded solo EP’s released in the past year (Feb 2013’s Hamburg and 2012’s NE Sorrow is Born), Everything Happens For The First Time is the denouement towards which the first acts have been working.
While the previously released EPs were the sole output of Mardock playing all instruments and producing (his effort to bring it back to basics after the “too many cooks” scenario of his former band), the new LP sees Mardock enlisting former Eagle Seagull drummer Andrew Tyler (on six of the tracks) and former Eagle Seagull keyboardist/violinist (as well as Mardock’s current wife) Carrie Butler. In addition to incorporating string arrangements, Butler adds a vocal assist to the almost Stereolab-esque “Algebra And The Moon.” The third outside contributor to the album is Justin Gerrish, who was entrusted with mixing duties and has worked with such notables as Vampire Weekend and The Strokes.
Speaking on the new LP, Mardock says “Most of the songs on this album were begun or written while Eagle Seagull was stuck in major label limbo. I wrote and recorded a lot of these songs while I was transient, including my living spaces in Omaha, Seattle and Boston. In some cases, the first demo take was the one I ended up using, such as on the song “King Of The Crickets.” In other cases, I stripped down and re-worked the songs more than ten times until I was satisfied with what I put out.”
“I just caught wind of the title track from the soon to be released album and it’s great. Sounds very reminiscent of early Arcade Fire (“wake up”). It’s a sweeping anthem that shouldn’t be lost on any of us. Surely a song at this level deserves notice.”
— We All Want Someone To Shout For
“Peppy piano, handclaps, and strings that crescendo like whitecaps on sea waves – his new single starts off with a feeling similar to Arcade Fire if you were to trade a dark and broody church recording studio for a summery session in the Grand Canyon. Even if your frontal lobe was as useless as a Blockbuster video store, you’d still be able to deduce that Mr. Mardock can compose a great, layered song like few others.”
— I Guess I’m Floating