"We are in musical heaven," read a statement earlier this year from Alain
Johannes, guitarist and vocalist of seminal L.A. rock band Eleven. He was
referring to the homecoming of Jack Irons, who along with Alain and Natasha
Schneider, formed Eleven in 1990. To fans, this wasn't just any ordinary
announcement. It signaled a return to the chemistry and energy that
established Eleven as one of the premier acts of the early nineties.
Of all of the bands to come and go over the last twelve years, Eleven have
not only survived in an ever-changing commercial music landscape, they've
flourished. The critically acclaimed Avantegardedog (2000) was a showcase of
melodic virtuosity that is seldom matched. The sultry, hypnotic vocals of
Natasha Schneider paired with the soaring guitar work of Alain Johannes have
long been a critical part of the blueprint for the Eleven sound. Fellow
luminaries Matt Cameron and Greg Upchurch have each contributed to the
potent paring of Schneider and Johannes over the years, but the soul of
Eleven rests firmly in the synergy between Schneider, Johannes, and Irons.
The same synergy that produced three Eleven classics; Awake in A Dream
(1991), Eleven (1993), and Thunk (1995).
Alain adds, ³When Jack moved back to L.A., we started getting
together...just hanging out and catching up. Then we started writing, and
things felt a lot different. There¹s a musical understanding between us that
allowed a lot of exploration in the music. That exploration really helped us
polarize the sound of our new album.²
Howling Book is the result of their reunion. Described by Alain as more
intuitive, and a less conscious effort than any of their previous records;
Howling Book finds the trio moving in a new, yet somehow familiar direction.
The band delivers 12 songs that are defined by a more dynamic and orchestral
approach than previous efforts. It has been a true labor of love for the
trio, and will surely prove to be what every Eleven album has been; an
expression of the heart and soul in every note, lyric, and breath.
Recorded at home in 11AD, where Schneider and Johannes have worked with such
noteable acts as QOTSA, LIVE, and Chris Cornell, Howling Book is the next
wonderous journey on the road that has brought three lifelong friends
together again to share their musical voice and vision. It will be the first
release on the band¹s new label, Pollen Records. Alain explains, ³Having
Pollen will allow us to invent a new model for music delivery.² As part of
that new model, Eleven is planning to debut Howling Book through an
ambitious and innovative series of live webcasts from their home on the web,
Elevenworld.com. It¹s the next chapter in the story that is Eleven; a band
so full of new beginnings, that one can only hope to never see the end.