Elkland - Golden (Cover Artwork)


Golden (2005)


Elkland's debut album, with its 80's-styled love songs, sounds like it could have been the soundtrack to films like "Sixteen Candles" or "The Breakfast Club;" the problem is that it is twenty years too late.

Elkland is walking a very fine line between homage and rip-off with their synth pop sound. It is hard to tell if they are drawing on retro influences or merely stealing a pre-existing sound. They take the electronic dance backings of contemporary bands like the Postal Service, douse them in organs and synth, and then add typical British new wave vocals into the mix. Singer Jon Pierce may be from upstate New York, but it sounds like he is lamenting lost loves while staring out over the Thames.

Golden does have its moments, and I can't say it is the worst attempt at new wave I have ever heard. Pierce's vocal range is often impressive and he does know how to write a pretty good melody, but at other times, the album is anything but palatable. Instead, you will find yourself choking on the extra cheese that oozes out of Pierce's overly sappy delivery and video game-like synth lines. Elkland may be attempting to recapture the morose vocal styling that made bands like the Smiths or Joy Division great, but in the process they are merely cranking out songs that sound eerily like middle school dance staples from 1987.