Indie music has taken a turn toward retro pop in recent years. We hear a lot of beats and grooves reminiscent of the 50s or 60s, and this really comes as no surprise: music and art are cyclical and we love to revisit old favourites. Bringing back some great 60s surfer rock and semi-psychedelic groove is Elk, a fantastic four-piece from Toronto and Niagara. A modern version of The Kinks, The Beach Boys, and The Wonders (the fictional band from That Thing You Do!), Elk is new but familiar, and their new album Daydreams has quickly become a lasting favourite.
The title of Daydreams is a perfect reflection of the band’s sound. Dreamlike and distant, it feels almost ethereal and otherworldly; vocals seem to take an echoey, reverb-filled backseat to the instrumental pieces, and this creates an eerie undertone to the otherwise upbeat album. Elk uses a variety of instruments and tempos on the album to add more creativity and range to the tracks, and in doing so they separate themselves from other less unique acts. They throw in super fun tambourine, piano (“Come Home”), and hand claps (“Every Girl That I Meet”) at appropriate parts throughout the album, and with plenty of toe-tapping beats and zippy hip-twisting the album creates a mixture of songs that both you and your mom can dance to.
The tracks themselves aren’t super complex or complicated, but this just adds to their charm. The easy, breezy flow of the album creates something that can be listened to repeatedly without even thinking about it. It doesn’t have that muddled jumble of noise that occasionally comes with garage-type bands, and the simple beats and riffs are what make the album flow so smoothly. The album-opening “Before The Sun” is a great example of why simple is better. You become part of the music, drumming along and humming the melody almost immediately, and when an album gets in your head the first time you hear it, you know you’ve found something good.
Listening to this album will make you want to see the band play live, and lucky fans in Southern Ontario will get a ton of chances to do so. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for their most up-to-date news, and take a peek at their label, IndoorShoes. Daydreams is available on iTunes and for a preview of Elk’s great sound, check out the video for “Before The Sun”. This is a band you need to hear, and a retro sound you need to revisit.