Los Angeles instrumental duo El Ten Eleven have debuted their first vocal release ever with the Unusable Love EP, featuring vocals by Emile Mosseri of The Dig. Born in the bustling community of bands that cut their teeth in Silverlake back in the early 00s, the band has circulated around the talents of Kristian Dunn on double-neck and bass guitar and Tim Fogarty on drums, releasing six solely instrumental albums over the years. Their newest EP marks their first attempt at adding a vocalist to their songs, which are often laborious constructions of layered looping effects that consist of analog and acoustic drums, guitar/bass, and digital effects. Unusable Love injects the agile vocalizations of Mosseri, her velvet croons and hoarse murmurs a beautifully organic accompaniment to the duo’s haunting sonic growths. Much of the EP is rooted in a sublimely distorted garage-blues rock that’s been stretched thin into looping segments, allowing you to savor each twinkling guitar and hidden medley. It’s like someone took The Kills or Wolf Alice and tossed them into a wormhole, leaving their raw, arduous howling to elongate to the point that it becomes another delirious instrument in the band’s repertoire.
The eponymous opening track “Unusable Love” steams forward on a chest-pounding percussiveness that ruptures occasionally on the break of chaotic instrumentals, but it’s held together by its affectingly purposeful march forward on the back of Mosseri’s hazy wails and the glimmering guitar sparks that burst in the peripheral. “I’m Right Here” is much more tame sonically, but handles the elongations of the band’s past instrumental sentiments with a vocal presence masterfully well, taking on the form of a soulfully bluesy percussion-driven ballad–carried on ravenously by Mosseri’s Motown-esque vocalizations. Similarly, “She’s A Live One” dazzles in its intricate soundscapes, diving into an almost Radiohead fascination with the length at which distortion and melody can go when given vocal backbone; while “Delicate Friend” sees Mosseri and her euphonious trill at the forefront as a lucent beam that wavers alongside the song’s droning synths.
Listen to the EP’s title track “Unusable Love” below!
Unusable Love is out August 18 via Fake Records, you can preorder it here. El Ten Eleven will also be performing at the Masonic Lodge August 29 for a special performance of the EP, as well as a stop at the Constellation Room on October 6. Stay updated on future releases and tour dates by visiting the band’s website and Facebook.
Words: Steven Ward