Perhaps it's the omnipresent gray skies, but whatever the cause, the Brits are masters of a strain of gloomy romanticism traceable from Bowie to Blancmange to Morrissey. NYC quartet Elefant channels this dark, synth-driven pop sound (which hit its high-water mark during New Wave's '80s reign) with supple melodies and a heavy-lidded vocal delivery that recalls the laconic, lovelorn expressions of Robert Smith. Though this nostalgic pop spirit fills the band's debut album, Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid, Elefant is not completely shackled to the past. In particular, the chunky guitar tones sound, at times, in keeping with fellow Gotham nostalgists such as The Strokes (as on the catchy "Misfit"). Singer-guitarist Diego Garcia broods a bit like Bowie, though he's not as grand, so it helps that the music twists and sways with great elegance. But while ornate, these are at heart pop songs, so Elefant doesn't get too plush in its arrangements, pushing steadily toward the big choruses and their rich, pungent bloom.
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