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Elk City
HOLD TIGHT THE ROPES
(WARM)

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Guitarist/vocalist Peter Langland-Hassan, vocalist/keyboardist Renee Lobue, and drummer Ray Ketchem embrace the smoother side of ’80s and ’90s indie pop as well as the art rock of early-’70s radio. Langland-Hassan sings in an affected accent that variously brings to mind Tom Verlaine and Lou Reed; he even channels a bit of one of Reed’s songwriting heroes, Bob Dylan, into the upbeat groove of "Summer Song." The musical backdrops this New York City trio favor are more in keeping with the Neil-Young-via-Dinosaur-Jr æsthetic, with guitars that explode from a jangly whisper into a roaring scream; "K-Mart," however, draws on the Reedy Galaxie 500/Luna school of fuzzy late-’60s urban psychedelic folk pop. And both the album’s back-cover photo of vintage effects pedals and the male/female vocal interchanges on "Back into My Life" conjure visions of Electr-o-pura Yo La Tengo. Elk City have certainly bitten off a mouthful by alluding to so many of New York City’s sacred cows. But Hold Tight the Ropes is compelling enough to suggest they may have what it takes to join the pantheon of NYC underground greats some day.

BY TONY WARE

Issue Date: November 28 - December 5, 2002
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