Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid by Elefant (Review)

Largely adrift in a sea of pleasant but largely forgettable sound.
Sunlight Makes Me Paranoid - Elefant

“Everything old is new again,” mutters that tired old cliché, and as overused as that particular phrase may be, the simple fact is that most clichés exist because they are, to some extent or another, true. The old made new in this case is that particular post-punk sound that marked the ’80s and early ’90s. You’ve got the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club channelling classic Jesus and Mary Chain, Interpol working that Joy Division vibe, and now you can add Elefant to the list of acts whose musical formative years obviously happened to coincide with my own.

In Elefant’s case, the obvious comparison is the Psychedelic Furs. It’s no stretch at all to imagine vocalist Diego Garcia belting out “Pretty In Pink,” though there are traces of The Cure and Pulp in there as well. Garcia’s sometimes soaring, often melodramatic vocals are the centerpiece of the band’s sound and deservedly so. The man has a great set of pipes and obviously knows how to use them, coming across somewhat like Jarvis Cocker without the perpetual sneer in his quieter moments, and in his more dynamic moments, soaring like the aforementioned Furs were wont to do.

Musically the band is largely based around the work of bassist James Berrall, which works brilliantly on tracks like the hypnotic “Now That I Miss Her” — easily the best cut on the disc — but ultimately proves to be the band’s undoing. Berrall is a bassist much like U2’s Adam Clayton — pretty much rock solid rhythmically but perfectly content to spend his entire life working in 4/4 time and not adding much in the way of melody. Nobody else steps up to add much in the way of melodies or hooks, leaving Garcia and Berrall’s talents largely adrift in a sea of pleasant but largely forgettable sound.

Written by Chris Brown.

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