Elliot Kerr doesn’t need much of an introduction—he’s played backup for Chairs, which already says a lot. Throw in the fact that Matt LeGroulx recommends him, and those familiar with the body of work between Kerr, LeGroulx and Ian Jarvis will have a good idea of what they’re getting into.
Manners is Kerr’s new project, and his warmth and precision pairs nicely with the production (and guest instrumentation) by Jarvis. In just four songs, Kerr shows off his range and digs into several different atmospheres to provide a truly exciting EP.
The succinct one-word titles won’t give you much idea of what to expect per song, but you can expect some lightly reverbed guitar and vocals, and some nice bass/guitar interplay. Opener “Mountain” is easily the sunniest-sounding song of the bunch, with some bright guitar over crunchier bass and some extended vocals, but there’s some doubt in the lyrics, like the great opening line: “If you open up the blinds, will I sink beneath the floorboards?”
The EP completely changes course for “Huntington,” with staccato vocals and guitar and guitar so warped it sounds like a keyboard. In between the delicate verses are beautiful, beautiful vocal harmonies that make it sound like some kind of space-age serenade. Around the 2:15 mark, it even manages to throw in a guitar solo, and it only gets bigger and bolder from there.
Things feel darker on “Shoreline,” which wastes no time in immediately bringing in Jarvis’ synth and Kerr’s guitar and much clearer vocals. It’s a dark and mournful-sounding song that might permeate the unlit halls of a haunted house.
But things turn right back around with “Ruins,” which sees a return to the brighter guitar and reverbed vocals heard at the beginning of the recording. It’s a fitting way to end the journey, like reaching the second lap of a race.
Given the activity of Kerr, Jarvis and LeGroulx, you can fully expect to hear a lot more of Manners in the future.
Top Track: “Huntington”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)