Elephant Parade

Elephant Parade

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One sub-subgenre of indie rock is often called "bedroom pop," referring to its quiet, homemade, insular feel and often hushed, deliberately quiet sound, as if it was recorded into a four-track while trying not to wake up one's housemates. Brooklyn duo Elephant Parade take the bedroom pop aesthetic to heart on their self-released debut album Bedroom Recordings: according to the liner notes, these ten delicate slices of twee pop were indeed recorded in their bedrooms. Estelle and Ido (no last names, please) both write and sing, and between them they play acoustic guitar and minimal, Young Marble Giants-style synthesizer on this bass and percussion-free album. Estelle has a standard-issue female twee pop voice reminiscent of acts like the Softies and other wispy-voiced, slightly pitch-poor paragons of the style. Ido, unfortunately, is more of a Calvin Johnson or Adam Green type, and his deep, amelodic drone of a voice lacks even the quirky charm of those two. As a result, any song here on which Ido's vocals take a lead role, such as "Everything Burns," is hard sledding in a way in which Estelle's songs are not. Even without that flaw, however, none of the brief, skeletal songs here particularly capture the ear beyond the pleasantly rough, D.I.Y. surfaces: there are no lyrics or tunes here that stick in the listener's mind. Committed fans of the style will likely find some small appeal to Bedroom Recordings, but overall, this is twee pop that exists mostly to remind the listener of earlier, better records in the genre.

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