I love the 80's: Elefant plays New Wave for a new generation of alterna-kids.
Jason Baron

One of the better missing link neo-'80s bands, Elefant explores the sounds of that decade without being overly derivative, unlike some of the other members of the retro-styled class of 2003. Its debut, Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid, recorded in 2002 and released in '03, is still going strong, and the band soon embarks on a solo tour that features a stop at the Coachella music festival in May.

Elefant's sound is clean and up-tempo, featuring prominent bass reminiscent of Peter Hook. While the music flashes on New Order, it also sound-checks Blur and The Smiths. Vocalist Diego Garcia, of model good looks and the ever-fashionable ironic mullet, often sounds like Morrissey if he were happy, even producing a couple of warbling near-yodels in homage to the Mozzer.

While evocative of '80s music, the edginess and risk-taking that were part of that decade (and definitive of the bands Elefant most emulates) is largely missing from this album. Kind of like all the alterna-kids in school who wear purple hair and metal in their eyebrows but never once got stuffed into a garbage can for it, Elefant could be accused of taking the genre for granted without having to pay the dues.



Old Brickhouse Grill, 1 East Jackson

Scheduled to open for Calexico on Sunday, March 14. Doors open at 8 p.m. All-ages tickets are $13, available from Zia Records, Stinkweeds, Hoodlums and www.ticketweb.com . For details call 602-258-7888.

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