It’s hard to listen to The Elective Orchestra and not be moved in some way. Lost in the landscapes of the carefully textured orchestration, perhaps. Or pulled into deep introspection by a single notion of beautiful contemplation in the lyrics, inviting you to think about something or someone in your life. Or perhaps simply caught between the dizzying flurry of the orchestra’s swirling string crescendos and the gentlest moments of quiet frailty. This is exactly where The Elective Orchestra want you, and while they have you there, it will make for a rewarding listen that will make you stop and think.
Formed as a group of friends who played music together in college in Dublin, Ireland, the band’s persona took nearly as long to develop as did the experience that afforded Carswell such a sincere and heartfelt touch with his songwriting. By the time the material that formed their debut album ‘The Word’ was written, the sound of the band was coherent and unique. The strings performed by sisters Deirdre and Kate Cussen were not added as an afterthought to the musings of a singer-songwriter. Instead, Carswell’s music comes alive through the texture of the entire orchestra (with everything from clarinet to glockenspiel), and woven within those stirring string choruses and vocal harmonies are the heart and soul of The Elective Orchestra’s music.
Harking back to old-fashioned way a record was created, The Word is an entire work, which plays from start to finish, bookended by two musical trilogies complete with beginning-middle-and-end, as well as several instrumental pieces and other musical oddities. The album begs to be listened to as a complete work and like all good works of art asks questions and presents a view of the world unique to these musicians and this songwriter. The Word will take the listener on a journey that continues long after the final chord has been struck.
Formed around the songs of Nick Carswell, The Elective Orchestra include Deirdre and Kate Cussen, Sian Murray, Bart Kiely and Colin Bartley. The band have been making music since late 2007. Live appearances have included the Electric Picnic Music & Arts Festival, Hard Working Class Heroes, Limerick Unfringed Festival and the Kilkenny Arts Festival to name a few.