Not too long ago, Eric Anders dropped Eleven Nine, a collection of songs featuring a folksy prog-rock sound reminiscent of Neil Young. The title of the album – Eleven Nine – refers to the date President Trump was officially elected. Eleven Nine is a musical denunciation of the current president of the U.S. All proceeds from the record will be donated to Lambda Legal, “the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.”
Written by Anders, Greg Gallardo, and Matthew Brown, Eleven Nine includes Anders on vocals; Andrew Rudd sits in the pocket; Stephen Baldock plays bass; Tyler Nuffer plays electric guitar and lap steel; Aaron Otheim is on piano; and Anika Reichert provides backing vocals.
Eleven Nine comprises 10 tracks. “This Fire Has Burned Too Long” travels on a measured soft rock melody full of what I call “classic folk flavors,” melancholic, loose colors that float and drift leisurely, emanating tantalizing wisps of recollection. “Who’ll Stop the Rain” reflects a drawling, meandering folk melody infused with sound clips from CCR’s song of the same name. The effect is magnetic and emotionally pulverizing.
“How Low and Why” begins with gentle, resonant guitars flowing into a prog-rock-laced melody oozing floating, foaming sonic colors. I love the jangly, high-pitched guitar solo and Anders’ reedy inflection. “Looking Forward to Your Fall” rides a So-Cal soft rock melody reminiscent of CSN&Y, replete with jangly guitars and a pulsating, migratory rhythm. A quavering organ adds brittle hues, as the gliding colors of the guitars imbue the tune with muted energy.
“Inside the Sacrifice Zone” opens with a delicate piano, followed by Anders’ sylph-like voice, tender and redolent. When the organ and drums kick in, the music takes on a subdued intensity that, although moderate, is potent. “Do You Feel” rides dirty dark tones, heavy with sepulchral gravity and a psychedelic feel. Anders’ voice exudes remote nuances of uneasiness, as well as opacity.
“A Man for No Season” delivers languid sonic pigments atop a slow melody with hints of gospel tints. Anders’ falsetto wafts and breaks deliciously, as translucent background harmonies add misty tones. “So Wrong” features a scrumptiously quivering steel guitar that cries with tenuous colors, as Anders’ rich falsetto sails overhead.
“Big World Abide” emanates opaque bluesy elements, shifting guitars and a powerful bassline thrumming with Jovian force. The harmonic textures are sarcastic and cutting, full of impiety and odious shades. This is one of my favorite songs on the album because of its tarnished ambiance.
Lastly, “I Hear Them All” rides an almost buoyant folk melody that combines Woody Guthrie’s “This Land Is Your Land” and “I Hear Them All.”
Eleven Nine is a strong album, especially if you’re a fan of Neil Young. The melodies, although a bit lugubrious, are catchy, and Anders’ voice is easy to listen to. Whether you agree or disagree with the political implications, Eleven Nine is worthwhile simply for the music.