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In 2005, honoring those post-punk pioneers such as Joy Division, New Order, the Cure and the Smiths was not only fashionable in gaining any kind of credibility, but crucial for earning the trust of mainstream music fans. The Killers did just that with their 2004 debut Hot Fuss and the decadent formula of synthesizers glossed over gushing choruses fit the popular medium of the moment. Elkland's debut album, Golden, is a stylish cast of '80s new wave and post-millennium modern rock, and definitely tailor-made to fit the new wave revival. The dozen-song set, produced by Dave Trumfio (The Sun, Koufax, Mates of State), savors dramatic and playful new romantic tones. Frontman Jon Pierce does his best Simon Lebon impression with his rich, forlorn vocals as the rest of Elkland is strict in their synth-driven sound. It's more melodic and sweet compared to the trashy lust of The Bravery's self-titled debut. Songs such as "Put Your Hand Over Mine" and "I Never" are innocent love songs with all the trimmings of a broken heart. "It's Not Your Fault" could have been a New Order song, but Elkland is wishful and boyishly charming unlike the coldness of older New Order tracks. With all of its diary-like desire, Golden boasts a fantastic dance moment with "Apart." Jon Pierce raves "I want you to be here/I want it to be now" as a slick guitar/keyboard attack captures the brightest energy that Golden has to offer. Elkland is a pop band that composes solid danceable pop songs without being blasé in their approach. It's as simple as that, and simple works this time out.

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