Friday, 3 May 2013

Elektra Zagreb - Dreams About Dying In California

Album review by

If you knew no better, you'd probably think that Elektra Zagreb are a part of the US lo-fi scene that's been hovering around the fringes of success for a few years. There's perhaps a subtle clue in the band name though. Elektra Zagreb comprise of members from Russia, Croatia and Portugal, making them firmly a European band. Could an album title like 'Dreams About Dying In California' be a subtle nod towards the music that has so obviously inspired the songs that make up their debut album? There's every chance it is, and it's nice to have a full-length following their EP late last year.

'Kesey Palms' is still as delightfully skewed, lo-fi, sunny and psychedelic as it was then, but now it's brought some of its mates with it. Not everything on 'Dreams About Dying In California' is quite up to this standard, and as a whole the album will be more in line with the tastes of people who prefer their music a touch messier (by design of course). Essentially acting as an intro, 'SoooOO' is a couple of minutes of slowed-down, muffled voices, although it lightens to an ending that's more of a jam than an actual song until some vocals kick in. In a solitary song this album is summed up almost perfectly.

Looking for lo-fi punk? Head for 'Spit Blood' or perhaps even the lower-paced 'Nympho Boyz'. Battered, minimally-produced but lovably sweet songs about love? You've got 'Andromeda Girls Are Better' or slowie 'Sweet Factory'. More poppy, wider-reaching tracks can be found in standout 'Six Magic Mountains' with its jangly, then fuzzy guitars and Anglophile vocals, along with 'Kesey Palms'. The final trio of songs are more meandering; the uptempo 'Bloody Hands' has a few twists, turns and changes in direction; 'Wolves' is '90s college-rock, just as it was then. No attempt is made at an update. Finally, 'Summer' rounds things up in a thoughtful and almost understated way. All told, 'Dreams About Dying In California' is an album that reveals its colours over time, but once you manage to crack it open there's much here to make Elektra Zagreb an exciting proposition.

Elektra Zagreb's website

'Dreams About Dying In California' will be out soon via Bandcamp

Catch them live:

May 07 Musicbox Lisbon, Portugal  
Jun 12 Restart Lisbon, Portugal

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