“Emotive songwriting and enthralling live performances.” – State.ie
It’s hard to listen to The Elective Orchestra and not be moved in some way. Lost in the landscapes of the carefully textured orchestration, perhaps. Or pulled into deep introspection by a single notion of beautiful contemplation in the lyrics, inviting you to think about something or someone in your life. Or perhaps simply caught between the dizzying flurry of the orchestra’s swirling string crescendos and the gentlest moments of quiet frailty. This is exactly where The Elective Orchestra want you, and while they have you there, it will make for a rewarding listen that will make you stop and think.
Formed as a group of friends who played music together in college in Dublin, Ireland, the band’s persona took nearly as long to develop as did the experience that afforded Carswell such a sincere and heartfelt touch with his songwriting. By the time the material that formed their debut album ‘The Word’ was written, the sound of the band was coherent and unique. The strings performed by sisters Deirdre and Kate Cussen were not added as an afterthought to the musings of a singer-songwriter. Instead, Carswell’s music comes alive through the texture of the entire orchestra (with everything from clarinet to glockenspiel), and woven within those stirring string choruses and vocal harmonies are the heart and soul of The Elective Orchestra’s music.
Harking back to old-fashioned way a record was created, The Word is an entire work, which plays from start to finish, bookended by two musical trilogies complete with beginning-middle-and-end, as well as several instrumental pieces and other musical oddities. The album begs to be listened to as a complete work and like all good works of art asks questions and presents a view of the world unique to these musicians and this songwriter. The Word will take the listener on a journey that continues long after the final chord has been struck.
Formed around the songs of Nick Carswell, The Elective Orchestra include Deirdre and Kate Cussen, Sian Murray, Bart Kiely and Colin Bartley. The band have been making music since late 2007. Live appearances have included the Electric Picnic Music & Arts Festival, Hard Working Class Heroes, Limerick Unfringed Festival and the Kilkenny Arts Festival to name a few.
“It’s refreshing to uncover somebody like Carswell who is prepared to think, write and play outside the box. His use of a string section brings a level of sublimity to his top-notch songwriting, and whereas too many songwriters are one-trick ponies, Carswell injects all his work with appropriate degrees of soul and passion.” Hot Press
“Delightful orchestration, delicate songwriting and gorgeously warm musicianship.” – The Limerick Chronicle
“Sincere, heartfelt musings on love, loneliness and longing . . . Carswell speaks from the heart. It suits him.” – The Irish Times
“Emotive songwriting and enthralling live performances.” STATE.IE
“If there is a new ‘Indie-Folk’ movement then The Elective Orchestra would be at it’s forefront.” 2uibestow Music Blog
“Emotive and intelligent lyrics combined with beautiful and creative musicianship.” LIMERICK EVENT GUIDE
About The Word
“The Word according to Nick Carswell & The Elective Orchestra”, (to give the album it’s full title!) is the debut long-player from the Limerick natives and will be available as a digital download [from here] from Friday April 22nd 2011, or Good Friday.
Physical copies will be available by Friday 20th May in time for the band’s national tour. More details from www.theelectiveorchestra.com
Based around the songs of Nick Carswell, The Elective Orchestra has been playing together for just about three years. The debut LP is full of the warm melodies, lush strings, and meaningful lyrics that have earned the band a sterling reputation for “emotive songwriting and enthralling live performances.” (state.ie) The album features some curious track titles (e.g. Plus! A TV Theme Tune For The New Chief!) and other musical oddities, including two ‘trilogies’ or three-act pieces, complete with introductions and musical codas.
Songwriter Nick Carswell explains; “From playing live together over the last few years, we have developed some extended instrumental pieces based around the songs, and we wanted to recreate that on this record. In the end, several sketches and improvisations are also included. Consider it a musical miscellany, or even an opus.”
Making music together since the end of 2007, the album encompasses both old and new songs and pieces. “Some of the songs have a history nearly ten years old, while others were written in the last six months, which makes for an interesting work when they’re all presented together.”
“As well as the studio recordings we made with Ross O’Donovan in Kerry,” Nick explains, “other recordings were made in two different churches in Limerick and Dublin and an apartment on the site of an old monastery, overlooking the river Blackwater in Youghal. Combine this with that fact that most of the songs are about God, or at least use the jargon of religion, we said we’d go all out and name the album after the Gospel. Why not?”
Breaking Tunes: http://www.breakingtunes.com/theelectiveorchestra
More hi-res pictures (right-click and Save As to download)