Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Elk City Live In A House Of Tongues
Evolving out of the Melting Hopefuls, Elk City have come a long way since their humble beginnings. Now five albums into their 'new' career, the group have evolved from being a rather mellow pop group to being something far more developed, rich, and intriguing that's as in touch with the past as it is today. Their latest album, House of Tongues is by far the best thing they've done and illustrates just how far this band has come since their re-launch.
With deep rich soulful vocals, Renee LoBue powers the band with a near torch song approach. She's got a set of pipes and when coupled with the bands sense of building momentum Elk City spring to life with dramatic flare and excitement. By that I mean, this is a band that's not afraid of a power chord or two and uses them to amp up the rock quotient of House of Tongues. The result is something that reminds me of something like Tribe meets someone sounding like Texas; slightly quirky, edgy, and expressive with just a hint of country and jazziness for some added spiciness. This isn't alt-country but it's informed by it and it's not purely indie rock but it's influenced by it; Elk City have written an album then, that refuses to be cornered or pigeon holed and that's what keeps you guessing and listening.
House of Tongues is a fine album of unusual charms and sounds and while it takes a bit of effort to find them they are there. From LoBue's astonishing voice, to the barrage of influences that help make House of Tongues the best Elk City album to date, this is a record that only reveals itself to the listener with repeated listens and dedicated attention. Complex, emotional, and smart House of Tongues is the sort of record more people should make but are afraid to. As they say themselves, "I finally have the courage to look into the mirror and stand up for my life," and that's exactly what they've done here. It's as if they've come to the conclusion that they've matured enough as a band that they can make records like House of Tongues without fear.
Elk City have made a doozy of a record here that will resonate deep within your soul once it works its way there. This isn't the easiest record to get into, but with a little investment it's easy to see why House of Tongues is a fine effort. With mature songs, vocals that reach for your heart and grabs it, and a diversely influenced sound that's texturally rich, nervous, and powerful House of Tongues hits it's mark repeatedly. It may have taken them awhile to get to this point, but Elk City have indeed arrived.