I will never forget how much I resisted buying this album. The guys at the CD store had it for a long, long time. I was dead against getting my hands on another disc that had “Hurry Down Doomsday”. One copy of that song as part of the “Extreme Honey” compilation sufficed. Plus, the other songs I knew from “Mighty Like A Rose” clearly signaled that the CD stood as the highest peak within Elvis career as far as inventiveness that spilled into weirdness went.
Eventually, that was what made me shell out for the album. I just admire the man, and I had to see what did exactly happen for him to end up cutting a disc with a string quartet just two years later.
Funny enough, I did not get that answer. What I got was a CD that was (and still is) impenetrable. The level of musical chaos and the jumble of styles make for one of the most hostile records I have ever come across.
The production is certainly a major issue. Those who complain about the way Mitchell Froom produced Richard Thompson should give “Mighty Like A Rose” a spin in order to realize that they shouldn’t complain to begin with. But Elvis also had his own way behind the mixing board, so that he was as much of an instigator as anybody.
A sonic avalanche heralds the first cut, “The Other Side Of Summer”. Simply put, it sounds like The Beach Boys on every kind of substance you could ever imagine. Still, it is the one composition where an approach that is heavy-handed elsewhere works out. Whether that is because it is the first song out of the fourteen on offer and that it catches you while you are still fresh could be debated, though – when I listen to the song on “Extreme Honey” I am not that keen on it. Continue reading