Pink Air is the new album from the distinctive and idiosyncratic New York cult band Elysian Fields. Their 11th record is a post-apocalyptic rock & roll joyride, touching on themes as far-reaching as natural disasters and global warming (the menacing, carnal "Storm Cellar"), life under a narcissist would-be dictator ("Philistine Jackknife"), white supremacy ("Knights Of The White Carnation"), censorship and the erasure of history (the dystopian sci-fi of "Karen 25"), vulnerable families falling through the social safety net ("Household Gods"), and meditations on time, friendship, loss, and mortality ("Time Capsule," "Star Sheen"). Despite its mordant tone, the record never feels heavy handed, its mood lightened with infectious hooks and doses of humor and satire.
Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow are the writers who make up the critically-acclaimed, under-the-radar band that formed in 1995 and went on to develop a cult following of faithful fans around the world. A dalliance with a major label beginning in 1996 ended with their edgy and uncompromising second album with Steve Albini, which drove the label and band apart, ending their contract. They went on to forge a path outside of the mainstream, recording with a number of independent labels over the years, culminating in 2016's evocative Ghosts of No. Side projects include two albums of Sephardic music on John Zorn's Tzadik label under the name La Mar Enfortuna, the supergroup Lovage featuring Jennifer along with Dan the Automator and Mike Patton, and many more recordings, including those of French stars Jean-Louis Murat and Wax Tailor, and experimental composer JG Thirlwell. Jennifer has also maintained a career in theater alongside music, with leading roles in numerous Off-Broadway productions over the years. In 2016, she originated the part of the Girl Angel in Du-Yun's opera Angel's Bone, which went on to win the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Oren has served as a secret musical weapon for a host of artists, from Meshell Ndegeocello to Marina Abramović to Anohni. Jennifer and Oren have also composed for theater and dance pieces, and their music has appeared in television, film, and commercials around the world. Elysian Fields regularly tour in Europe, where their most loyal audience can be found in France. They are "musicians' musicians," consistently attracting top players from around the world to sit in with their live sets. In 2015, they opened a music venue in Brooklyn called The Owl Music Parlor.
Pink Air was tracked in the mountains outside Woodstock NY and finished in the Manhattan lair of studio wunderkind Thomas Bartlett (The National, Sufjan Stevens). Its eleven songs are united by rock strut and cavern reverb, swathed in the darkness of a beat club, pinned under the shadow of a modern nightmare.
Jennifer Charles's singing has never been more iconic, infusing each track with her legendary onstage charisma, her beguiling song craft remaining undimmed, every chorus resonating like your car stereo was invented just to play it. The lean, stinging leads and hard-driven rhythm guitar playing comes from Bloedow, resting on the meaty groove and head-cracking backbeat of all-time major leaguer Matt Johnson (Jeff Buckley, St. Vincent), a key player in Elysian Fields since the band was forged in the music crucible of fin de siècle downtown New York City. Other giants of the NYC scene who appear are six-string ace Vernon Reid (Living Colour), returning EF collaborator Mark Plati (David Bowie), Simon Hanes (Tredici Bacci), and CJ Camarieri (Paul Simon, Bon Iver), with Bartlett riding the virtual mixing desk.
Painting the present landscape in her precise and often caustic lyrics, Jennifer trains her gaze on the personal, intimate and spiritual, depicting friends and lovers in a novelistic way, against a backdrop of change and fear, political and social riptides. Sex ("Tidal Wave"), and romance ("Beyond The Horizon") are thrown in for good measure. This Girl Angel and her feathered familiars in Elysian Fields have always soared among lofty air currents. For Pink Air, they clip those wings, touching down to roam the badlands with a rock & roll spirit animal.