Pffhhhh... If some disappointment in The Art Of Loving (the 9th album under the Eloah monicker, by the now in Holland residing Austrian Elmer C. Fuchs) rang through in that sigh, then I've accomplished my goal (alternately, you know know what was meant, uh?).
In contrast to 2010's Ode To Brother Horn review by yours truly posted 2/02/2011 in a Two Side Moon Promotion special also including albums by the bands Black Sunday Dream, Four Trips Ahead and Melodrome) most of the the songs are now shorter, with more attention to actual song arrangements. This obviously leaves little place for the Ambient and New Age touches of the past, but even in the songs where you'll get a nice ethereal guitar lick or spacey keyboard or synth line, the overall atmosphere is severely devastated by Mr. Fuchs' awkward vocal stylings, which are closer to a misshapen melodically spoken groaning, than to actual singing. Back in the game on the new album, is of course Fuchs' life partner, Astrid H. Paulisitsch- Fuchs (female backing vocals on 4 of the 16 tracks - yeah, 16...with a total length of almost 75 minutes), but otherwize the list of participants has severely changed. Although violinist/ sax player Dominik M. Mittergradnegger plays on 7 tracks, Michael Lukas (whom had a rather important part to play on the preceding album, both on guitar as well as on the bass) now only guests on the one track “Apostles, Traitors And Messiahs” playing bass only, and the major roles are this time taken over by drummer Johan van der Meer, electric guitarist Orion Roos (on 10 tracks) and upside bass player Cees Kamp (on 8 tracks). Equally important is electric bass player Ingo Leusbrock (on 8 tracks, one of which Kamp can also be found) and, in order of appearance on the album, guest roles were set aside for trombone player Johannes Boonstra on 3 tracks), singer Adam D. Wexler (backing vocals on 4 tracks, including the wacky “Chocolate Covered Bear”, which is actually one of the highlight songs on the album...well, actually it's more a spoken word track, but it's done with melody), piano/ organ player Vera de Geus (on the track “The Last Day On Earth”), Luewton L. F. Agostinho (acoustic guitar on “The Art Of Loving”), and backing vocalist & German Flute player Christine Hofleher (on 4 tracks towards the end of the album). There's also roles for Lena M. (moaning on “Too Close”) and the Wetsus Girls (on “Pray To Them”, another nice track, with vocals done in some Native language), bringing an ode to Mother Earth in several languages toward the end of the song.
Well, I won't elaborate too much, better for those interested to go check samples of all the album's songs (as off all other Eloah albums, should one be inclined to do so) at (www.) eloah.at (go to the “Music” section, and click on the album cover you want to hear samples from). Although my original reaction may have been somewhat negative, I have to say that I love the frequently somewhat ethereal electric guitar contributions by Roos and Fuchs himself. Great are also those (female) spoken word inserts (by Caio Agostinho in the song “The Last Days On Earth”, and the aforementioned one by the Wetsus Girls). Too bad about Fuchs' mostly nozzled type of “singing”. May up your own minds, at any rate the new Eloah album gets a lower rating than its predecessor!