Eleventh Dream Day, Ursa Major

Ira Kaplan

By Ira Kaplan

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A somber and excellent return to an indie label

Eleventh Dream Day started around the same time as our band, and like us there was a married couple at their core. And they, too, had an unsatisfying tenure on Atlantic, although they didn't have Matador as a buffer. You can't blame everything on the major label (or rather, you can if you want, but we don't know for sure), but by the time they were through with Atlantic and vice versa, drummer/vocalist Janet Bean was more occupied with being a guitarist/vocalist in Freakwater, bassist Doug McCombs was having more success with Tortoise, and Wink O'Bannon had one foot back in Louisville. Improbably, to put it mildly, the band responded with far and away their best record. (It remains my favorite.) With John McEntire recording, they suddenly sounded completely at ease making a record instead of simply recording live in the studio. Every song sounds different and though it's a far more somber album than any of its predecessors, “Orange Moon” might be their most intense rocker ever.