Elrichman- Heaven's Mayor (Review)
On Heaven's Mayor, Elrichman (Paul Elrichman of the Jangle-Pop band Ducks Unlimited) makes a lot of allusions to people trying to navigate a digital world in a very acoustic singer-songwriter fashion. Hailing from Toronto, Paul Elrichman finds a way to keep the listener entertained through his highly satirical, tongue in cheek lyrics and instrumentation that has enough courage to stray away from traditionalism at the right moment, Elrichman creates an album that feels timeless, but also rooted in this generation in a seamless fashion. With influences, like Roxy Music, 10cc, and Aztec Camera, Elrichman showcases his talents in varying ways throughout Heaven’s Mayor.
If you only listen to one song from this album, make it the opening track ‘Cop on a Horse,’ as it exemplifies everything that I adore about this release from Elrichman. The song entraps us with a beautiful string arrangement, and continues with an absolutely fun and an acoustic guitar that sounds like it’s straight from the 1970’s. Elrichman paints this picture of a cop who we can tell thinks he is holy and mighty, but when he thinks no one is watching, he’s on his phone, texting, just like the rest of society. The lyrics showcase Elrichman’s strengths in creating a character that we want to hear about, he paints people throughout the record in an entertaining and fun fashion, but also takes the time to peel the skin back and show their flaws, and our flaws as a society.
Elrichman doesn’t stray away from having fun and experimenting with his instrumental arrangements throughout Heaven’s Mayor, which is quite a relief as typically a singer-songwriter record. Elrichman does this by adding a lot of fun ideas to give his music some variety, thus keeping the listener’s ears on their metaphorical toes. Strings and woodwind instruments paint their way onto this record gracefully, giving us a nice break from the acoustic guitar that makes up a majority of these songs. Songs like ‘Seeking Grey Skies,’ ‘On the Nose,’ and ‘You’re Making a Big Mistake,’ are helped out immensely by the inclusions of strings and woodwind instruments, as if they wouldn’t have these breaks, I could see these songs struggling as they would have nothing that brings the needed zest that these tracks require.
This record does struggle in being mundane at times, however. I feel as if this record does have a lot of inconsistencies in song qualities, unfortunately. With this being such a short album, that is a bit hard for me to say, as I would love to recommend every track off of this record to everyone. I simply cannot do that, as I feel like some of the tracks run dry and do become a little forgetful. As the added bells and whistles of this album do enhance it as a whole, I feel like at times Elrichman relies on them too heavily to make us care that this record exists. I think he has a lot of likability to him when it comes to his songwriting, and sometimes that doesn’t get to shine as we get a little bit sidetracked as to what is going to happen next. I would like to see him restructure his ideas a bit. I would challenge Elrichman in his next release under this name to maybe let his songwriting go a bit further, because I do think he has a talent in that regard. I think the experimentation is great, and I prefer music that tries to be different and takes risks. The key is balance, and I think Elrichman needs to find his balance a bit as the transitions throughout this record sometimes get a tad awkward and take away from the song.
Heaven’s Mayor is a charming release, full of highly satirical songs and brilliant moments of instrumentation that knows how to use a vast majority of great influences. Elrichman uses these influences to his advantage, borrowing from 70’s singer songwriters one moment, and borrows from artists from that same period who weren’t afraid to experiment. Elrichman creates a record that feels both timeless and timely, a feat that is very hard to achieve for many.
Favorite tracks: Cop on a Horse, I Mostly Consume, Seeking Grey Skies, Restrain Me
Least favorite tracks: You’re Making a Big Mistake, Burn it All Down
Listen to 'Cop on a Horse,' from Elrichman's sophomore album, Heaven’s Mayor below: