While Elk doesn’t yet have a fully-functional website, they’ve already released their third album, Daydreams, on indie label IndoorShoes. The garage rock/pop band that hails from Toronto and the Niagara region of Ontario, Canada, has a retro look to each of their album covers and a retro sound to their songs. Distant vocals and a gritty garage rock sound add an edge to the surf music guitar, backing vocals, and occasional electric organ. The album is like the lovechild of a weird three-way between a 1960s pop group, The Pixies, and North Lakes.
The stand-out song for me is “Every Girl That I Meet,” a handclap-driven pop song that sounds like it could have been adapted for a ‘60s girl group like The Shirelles (albeit with a slight change on the gender in the lyrics, I suppose,) or written for The Beach Boys or The Wonders (or Oneders,) the fictional band in That Thing You Do! The guitars bring to mind surf music. It’s so catchy that it makes you want to sing along, and luckily it repeats the line “Every girl that I meet isn’t right for me” so many times that you will feel like you know the words quickly (in a good way.)
The lyrics have common themes of love, of someone being ‘the one,’ holding hands, getting lost together, and so on. The innocence of ‘60s pop lyrics traveled through time for these songs, most notably “Spinning Around.” The backing vocals give the songs some major nostalgia. It is reminiscent of The Beach Boys but without the focus on harmonies. All four members contribute vocals on the album, which makes sense once you listen for all of the layers of vocals.
Nothing too edgy lyric-wise, but then there’s the gritty sound of “Nowhere” to balance out the sugar-sweet words of some of the other tracks. It is one of the few songs that doesn’t focus on love. Speaking of “Nowhere,” there is one extremely familiar-sounding riff in that that sounds like it had to be taken straight out of another song, though I can’t place it.