After taking a break of nearly a decade to pursue other interests, Brooklyn-based Elephant 6 Collective associates, The Essex Green are back with Hardly Electronic - their first album since Cannibal Sea in 2006. If lead track Sloane Ranger is anything to go by, expect some delicious, catchy pop synonymous with other Elephant 6 bands such as Apples In Stereo. Red & orange swirl vinyl (limited to 1000 copies), standard black vinyl and CD on Merge.
- LP £19.49
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- MRG633LPC1 / Red & orange swirl vinyl LP on Merge. Limited edition of 1000 copies in matte jacket with Euro sleeve
- Includes download code
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My question of the week is what do indie-pop bands do when they are not indie-popping? In Essex Green's case their 12 year lay off has seen the band go and do the most improbable of things - one built a houseboat, one learnt fermentation and the other studied elk rutting. Having got out all this out of their system the band sound rejuvenated on this long awaited and long running album.
First up you need to deal with the saccharine tweeness they are occasionally capable of. Tracks like 'In the Key of Me' sounds like Belle and Sebastien trying to re-write Pet Sounds and even more sugary than that might sound but at least it shows the band showing ambition. Better though are the catchy burst of pop they are capable of. 'Don't Leave it in your Hands' is an album standout. From the get go with it's 'Cannonball' bassline the song promises much but it's not until a superb chorus that it really takes light - the harmonies of Sasha Bell (the Elk rutter) are most impressive.
Though emerging out of the psych pop Elephant 6 scene, the band have some quite 70s pop stylings at times bringing back thoughts of Badfinger and the kind of chirpy pop you'd get in that decade. They do a de rigeur 'Wicked Game' soundalike on 'Patsy Desmond' and an astonishing '24 Hours From Tulsa' rip off on 'Waikiki' the band seem to be happy to blast through a bunch of styles including country, harmony pop, and Teenage Fanclub style classic guitar pop. The band tend to often save themselves with catchy choruses and insidious melodies that are hard to dislike.
There's lots of music here - some of it's great, some of it isn't. It's as sugary as eating candy floss and a donut at the same time but they do no harm overall and it will keep them busy until Elk rutting season.
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