Elk City “House Of Tongues” (Friendly Fire, 2010)
Overly cool metropolitan pop
“Tasteful” is the word that springs irresistibly to mind when listening to Elk City. Their slick radio-friendly pop is glossy, but not too glossy. They occasionally rock out, but never so much that you reach for the volume control. They hint at edginess, but never disturbingly so. Everything is almost obsessively cool but the saving grace of all this apparent calculation is singer and songwriter Renee LoBue, whose voice jumps easily between subtle and sultry, fragility and all out rocking in a way that means you’re never quite sure what’s she’s going to do next.
The band clearly draws much of their inspiration from Seventies pop, notably Steely Dan and Roxy Music, though there are New Wave nods from times to time, as on the staccato “For The Uninitiated” and the potential hit “Nine O’clock In France,” which is complete with a minimalist beat and an early Blondie vocal from LoBue. Sometimes the band stretch out, but the two longer pieces here, “2010” and “The Onion” don’t work as well because they’re too self-conscious – a bit like Woody Allen trying to be Ingmar Bergman. Apart from that, this is a nice pop album and no more. Elk City is probably capable of more but need to worry less about being cool and more about making music.
Date review added: Monday, June 07, 2010
Reviewer: Jeremy Searle
Related web link: Artist MySpace site