The full-length debut from alt-rock band Ellevator, The Words You Spoke Still Move Me inhabits an emotional landscape both breathtakingly intimate and impossibly vast. Over the course of 12 incandescent songs, the Ontario-based trio document experiences at turns universal (existential longing, romantic power struggles, the neverending work of true self-discovery) and highly specific (e.g., frontwoman Nabi Sue Bersche’s journey in extracting herself from a cult). When met with their warm yet mercurial sound and transportive storytelling, the result is a truly hypnotic body of work, giving rise to the kind of radiant open-heartedness that radically transforms our own perspective.
Produced by indie-rock luminary Chris Walla—former guitarist and founding member of Death Cab for Cutie, and a major creative force in that band as well as critically revered, genre-defining acts like The Long Winters—The Words You Spoke Still Move Me bears a stunning effervescence that startled even Ellevator itself. “When we started writing we were making a lot of dark, angry music with these very heavy lyrics about Greek tragedies,” notes guitarist Tyler Bersche, whose bandmates also include bassist/keyboardist Elliott Gwynne (a childhood friend of both Tyler and Nabi, a married couple). Longtime collaborators originally from the town of Guelph, the three musicians had initially leaned into certain moodier sensibilities largely influenced by their post-rock pedigree, but soon found themselves revisiting the exultant art-pop of artists like Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel. Along with introducing bold new textures and timbres into their sonic vocabulary, Ellevator chose to expunge any ironic detachment from their songwriting, fiercely committing to an all-encompassing sincerity that leaves plenty of room for gentle irreverence, self-aware humor, and unbridled joy.
The follow-up to their 2018 self-titled debut EP, The Words You Spoke Still Move Me draws much of its immersive power from a rare convergence of pop-perfect hooks, idiosyncratic arrangements, and intermittently explosive energy—a quality they’ve shown in touring with the likes of Our Lady Peace, Amber Run, and BANNERS over the years. In working with Walla (whose production credits include Tegan and Sara, The Thermals, and Foxing), Ellevator fully embraced their identity as a rock band, surrendering to an untamed spontaneity in bringing each song to life. To that end, the album’s luminous opening track “Claws” set the tone for the near-magical synergy that essentially fueled all of The Words You Spoke Still Move Me. “‘Claws’ came from a session where we were just goofing around, playing each other’s instruments, and suddenly we had this very hopeful song that felt like it belonged to another band,” Nabi recalls. “With so many of these songs, we were surprised by how fun they felt to us,” Elliott adds. “So even though they still go to dark places, there’s always that excitement and happiness underneath it all.”