Music Reviews
Bury Me In My Rings

The Elected Bury Me In My Rings

(Vagrant) Rating - 6/10

Early retirement never works out and as we’ve seen time and time again with sports figures and celebrities, a surprised audience always accompanies the comeback. It’s like when your mom’s favorite character falls off a cliff in one of her soap operas and you hear shocking gasps coming from the living room when she realizes "Chaz" (or whoever) is still alive a year later. When Blake Sennett decided to take a hiatus last year, and called it “retirement”, there had to be muffled skepticism at the time, followed by faux astonishment when he decided to make another record. He’s too young and talented to call it quits this early. I’m not knocking his soul-searching holiday, I’ve taken a few of those myself, but consider this my inadvertent “I told you so”. A return was inevitable. Just sayin’.

Deeming Sennett as an introvert, he explains on the The Elected website, “I played most of the instruments myself, so it was easier to erase stuff without hurting anyone’s feelings. This time I just thought, better take it as far as I can alone… then bring in my friends to fill in the blanks". I doubt he was accusing Jenny Lewis (Rilo Kiley) or any other colleagues of being hypersensitive; he just seems like the type of guy who enjoys working solo. Celebrating the idea of a vacation, in lieu of a complete withdrawal, there’s a California dreamin’ with a hangover sound on Bury Me In My Rings. Most of the tracks are fit for a hammock in the middle of nowhere, but the moody and ironic lyrics make it more of an Elliot Smith comparison than Jack Johnson, and thank goodness for that. He takes a step away from the country love ballads, like on his previous LP, Sun, Sun, Sun, and makes Bury Me more island-poppy. You’ll understand what I mean when you get to Trip Around The World. I am interested to see if The Elected will stick with Vagrant Records after the freshman year with the new label. This artist does seem to fit in very well with the new foster family.

Overall, there are some delightful melodies and bee-boppin, twangy inflections throughout this album. It’s very friendly. It’s more than a soundtrack to your company’s luau themed Christmas party, but it also won’t make it to your top-10 favorites of 2011. Even though I’m not praising the comeback album in a Grammy winning category, I think many are simply pleased with the fact that Blake Sennett put down the scuba gear and got back in the game where he belongs. Welcome back, buddy.