03 November 2016

ELCKA Rubbernecking 1997

by request

AllMusic Review by  

By the time Elcka got around to releasing a debut album in 1997, the Britpop hype in the group's initial year of attention, 1995, had started to curdle (the requisite string arrangements alone date the record). As a result, Rubbernecking came and went, not even getting an American release despite a high-profile opening stint with Morrissey in the States. A pity, because while the quintet's music worked in the same lush/dissipated general line as Suede and labelmates Pulp, Elcka had just enough individual character to stand out more than might be thought. Lead singer Harrold had just the right amount of English "it's a lahrf" twang and catch in his singing voice, and while the production seems to want to hide his voice in the mix more than anything else, it's still nicely glammy stuff. Steve Harley would probably be the closest comparison point, while the band's music touches on that era with some dollops of Madness and Faces' jauntiness as well. Guitarist Marcus Sanford-Casey is competent without being per se distinct, though still with a nice bit of flash, while keyboardist Matt Barker adds some good extra sheen and energy here and there as well. The latter's lines on tracks like "Fill Me" actually often stand out as the best thing in the performance. Bassist Rhodes and drummer Darren Berry do their work well enough, with little more to say there. The singles from the album unsurprisingly are the strongest efforts, with the album-only tracks continuing the mood and occasionally improving it, like the quirky theatrics of "When the Circus Comes" or the concluding stomp of "A User's Guide." Opening number "Supercharged" and "Statuesque," the latter with a kicky, niggling guitar line floating speaker to speaker, both have memorable melodies, but "Nothing to Lose" wins out the most, with a swirling, synth/string-combined intro and a slow, building sense of drama to a great chorus. 


1 Supercharged 5:37
2 Fill Me 3:24
3 Statuesque 4:08
4 Look At You Now 4:14
5 When The Circus Comes 3:12
6 Leather Lips 3:47
7 Nothing To Lose 4:34
8 Aston Martin 3:55
9 Roll The Dice 4:54
10 The Pervert's Servant 4:32
11 A User's Guide 5:32


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