It's usually a positive thing when overripe bands recognize their expiration dates and break up before inflicting self-congratulatory farewell tours or lukewarm albums upon audiences who stopped caring years ago. But when a group splits in the prime of life -- as the Louisville, Kentucky indie veterans of Elliott are doing, despite releasing the best disc of the group's career -- the loss feels more like a sudden breakup than an amicable divorce. The quartet -- whose lone original member is ex-Falling Forward vocalist/guitarist Chris Higdon -- exploded onto the post-hardcore scene with the noisy slo-core sweep of 1998's U.S. Songs,
and soon after, became the missing link between Sunny Day Real Estate and Sigur Ros on 2000's False Cathedrals
. The band's swan song, 2003's Song in the Air
, perfects its emotional-but-not-emo sound with atmospheric heartbreak. Mournful needling from a local string quartet adds beauty to the title track and "Carry On," while the disc's masterpiece is "Away We Drift," a six-minute climb to transcendence by means of stormy, Cure-like guitar textures and the indistinct crooning of Higdon's anguished vocals. Elliott's swing through Akron is one of the last stops on the farewell tour, so make sure to catch the band's incomparable live chemistry one last time.