Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

ELKS in Paris: I Still Insist
Eric Lichter: ELKS in Paris (Diamond Market)

Any New Zealander hearing the downbeat chorus-cum-hook of the opener on this album -- "how could a plan so beautiful go so pitifully bad" -- might think they have tuned in to a Greg Johnson album.

It's all there in the seemingly effort marriage of words and melody, the balance of sentiment between yin and yang, the worn-out but tuneful delivery . . .

And then the rhythm picks up so . . . It's Greg?

Nope.

This is Eric Lichter from Seattle who has been a longtime member of that city's excellent if largely overloooked Green Pajamas -- sorry, Elsewhere will never stop banging on about them and their songwriter Jeff Kelly.

And for this album he shifts off to Paris to record with the gifted Ken Stringfellow of the power-pop godheads the Posies (and Stringfellow was in the touring REM for a long time).

Which means (Eric) EL and (Ken) KS are ELKS in Paris for these smart, addictively melodic if hardly groundbreaking songs which ride on memorable phrases (try forgetting "I spent my last night living in the Coroners Motel").

Nothing here is going to break cover and make itself known to the wider world, but Elsewhere is very pleased to bring songs like dreamy/disturbing Courtesy of Trees, the subtle and memorable I Still Insist (somewhere between Beatle ballad '64 and Flying Nun '84) and the bass-riding pop ballad Fantastic to wider attention.

One of those albums if you've never heard you won't have missed, but if you have it will get repeat plays.

For more on this album -- sample tracks and/or purchase (it is cheap!) -- see here.

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