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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

The Elected
Sun, Sun, Sun (CD)

One of the most remarkable things about Blake Sennet's sideproject The Elected is how the new album Sun, Sun, Sun expands its sound to encompass songs that are near anthemic in quality while still retaining their whisper-in-your-ear intimacy that was their original allure. Oh sure, there are still songs on the album that are more sparse and mellow country-folk tunes. But on songs like "Not Going Home" they reach new heights of crescendo and orchestral production that were a mere glimmer in Sennet's eye during the previous album "Me First". The Elected have definitely come out of the closet to play for this new album; Sennet contributes vocals that are quite a bit more animated and the overall sound is deeper, richer.

But behind all the new-found hoopla and expressionism, songs like the title track "Sun, Sun, Sun", "Desiree", and "Beautiful Rainbow" are still poignant reminders of the Elliott Smith connection. These three songs are beautiful tunes, definitely more country than Smith ever was, but still full of pop-folk goodness.

The band covers a great amount of musical territory, perhaps even more than Sennet's other project Rilo Kiley. "I'll Be Your Man" with its tuneful little bells, reverbed vocal "bum-bum-bum"s and slight 70s influence could be a Beegees or Carpenter's song. "Biggest Star" could be the long lost brother of the Beatles' "Don't Let Me Down"... though goshdarn if 5 minutes into the track I felt like I was listening to a Weezer track. Yep, they actually lock into pop-step that much and get that loud. The only thing I'm not sure about is the extended guitar-hammer stuntastics at the end of the track. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief almost. I thought perhaps I'd pressed "next disc" on the CD player or something.

Still, this is quite an interesting direction that they've chosen. It definitely is new music that is recommended listening if you're a fan of the newer Rilo Kiley stuff, Sufjan Stevens, or Elliott Smith.

- review by SHORTY (1.30.06)        

Sub Pop Records
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Seattle, WA 98121

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