A rocky band break-up has inspired New Believers, the Elk City debut with firebrand Renee LoBue at the helm. It's the record that has simmered in LoBue for years.
The drums begin to rumble, a Rhodes piano-bass hums a round thunder and lightning strikes - LoBue soars with vocals that echo Dusty Springfield, Patti Smith and David Bowie. It's the big sound of Phil Spector, the roar of The Jesus & Mary Chain and the warped pop of The Breeders with LoBue's inimitable voice as our guide.
NYC's Elk City debuted in 2000, captivating audiences with its boy/girl duets and dark atmosphereics. Ex-guitarist/vocalist Peter Langland-Hassan's stormy departure freed the band from that architecture and gave LoBue license to reinvent herself.
On New Believers, LoBue ascends with disarming conviction as Elk City's centerpiece, staking claim for what is rightfully hers. Eleven stirring songs declare self-determination and celebrate independence from snobbery and deceit. Lipstick shades become a rallying cry in "Cherries In The Snow", lost friendship is buttonholed in "Little Brother", dark secrets are unveiled in "My Type Of Criminal".
Ray Ketchem's production adds stunning depth to LoBue's adept pop idiom. New Believers also features remarkable contributions from Drag City/Birdman recording artist Brother JT, ex-Luna guitarist Sean Eden, and Brooklyn's The Mendoza Line, for which Ketchem has produced three critically heralded albums in his studio, the WOMB.
Elk City's roots are deep: LoBue and Ketchem first paired as Melting Hopefuls, a pioneering 1990's band that scored two "Single Of The Week" picks in England's Melody Maker and a SPIN Top Ten Single. They became Elk City in 1998, teaming with Langland-Hassan and going on to release two critically acclaimed albums: 2000's status (Hidden Agenda) and 2002's Hold Tight the Ropes (WARM/Touch & Go). Elk City criss-crossed the United States and Europe endlessly to promote their releases, touring with Luna, The Walkmen and The National. Elk City became the first band to sign with trailblazing French imprint Talitres and performed for more than 450,000 on French radio.
Today, this new Elk City calls upon a wide palette of influences: 1960's psychedelic bands such as Love, the girl group sounds of Motown, 1970's proto-punk heroes John Cale and Television, and 1980's alternative rock such as The Smiths and The Stone Roses. Never fearful of experimentation, these musicians are pushing new boundaries with their work, weaving Ketchem's ace production with LoBue's striking voice and creating memorable recordings of songs and ideas in the process.
New Believers closes with the promise "be set for more." With New Believers as example, there is indeed much more in store for fans of Elk City.
"Renee LoBue's voice is astounding - she has incredible range and sounds like a female Bowie engaged in a three-way with Hope Sandoval and Patti Smith"
- The Village Voice
"LoBue is a firebrand - soft and gentle one minute, raising the hairs on your neck the next"
"Elk City simply excel in making beatiful pop songs that are as interesting as they are unassuming"
"The new album from the new Elk City builds on the band's past successes with impressive, unpretentious musical eclecticism. Surprising lyrics reveal a humane, contagiously optimistic heart."
- Gordon Cox (Variety)