Jazz saxophonist Charlie Parker once said, “Music is your own experience, your own thoughts, your own wisdom.” Parker’s music recreates his experiences, thoughts and wisdom for the listener.
The same is not true for jangly dream-pop band Elkhart, whose contemporaries like Mazzy Star and Low with their minimalistic songs straddle the line between ambience and boring the audience.
“The Moon,” Elkhart’s debut album, misses the band’s clear intent to exude memories of house and home.
Travis Hopper, singer and songwriter for the band, writes on Elkhart’s homepage that the songs on their first album are “ideas of home, the memories past and visions of what may be, the faces of friends and sketches burned into memory, the families that love us and things sacrificed along the way, distilled into 9 unhurried stories.”
“Unhurried” is the key word here. While the lyrics certainly express images true to Hopper’s vision, the music is so dull that the listener is forced into a state of apathy before he is even willing to put the album down.
The album starts strong with “Change Your Mind,” but subsequent tracks fail to reveal anything different or new from the first track. Each track is burdened with uncompromising acoustic strumming and echoed guitar picking, revealing the band’s unfortunate obsession with their delay pedal.
Certainly the music is well played and recorded. The production value of the album is comfortably high and the proficiency of the lead guitarist’s playing complements the steady rhythms laid down by drummer and percussionist Jarad Brown. The songs are simply thick with repetitive riffs and unimaginative chord progressions.
One of the few hidden gems on the album is “Little Bear,” which brings to mind the steady beats of Tom Petty’s album “Southern Accents”. The percussion shines on this track as Brown’s obvious laid back nature provides layers of interesting textures and simple fills.
Listening to the album for the first time, one would expect “Little Bear” to spark something new and original to listen to, unfortunately the album falls back into its steady monotony until the end of the last track, “Shatter the Night.”
At only 8 dollars, “The Moon” is a fairly well-priced album considering the quality of song writing it has to offer the listener. However, I would not recommend buying this unless you are looking for something that will help render a good nights sleep drifting off to the dull sounds of a band that simply misses home.