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Orchids & Onions Awards Ceremony Oct 02, 2014 The San Diego Architectural Foundation presents this year's crop of design awards acknowledging the best and the "could be better" of San Diego's built environment.  54 other events on Thursday, October 2
 
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Errol Flynn biopic leads our rundown of movies screening around town
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A very loud Diversionary Theatre offering tops our coverage of local plays
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Chamber of Commerce, led by the former mayor, launches all-out campaign to regain control of San Diego
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One-woman San Diego Rep production tops our coverage of local plays

 

 
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Tuesday, Mar 04, 2014

Hills Like Elephants groove on new EP

Band’s off to a good start with the first of three 2014 releases

By Jeff Terich

Hills Like Elephants 
Bedroom Colonies Vol. 1 (Self-released)

In late 2013, Hills Like Elephants announced plans to release a new album, Bedroom Colonies. However, plans changed a little bit. By the end of 2014, all of those songs will be released, but in shorter EP installments rather than as one full-length. 

This isn't the first time a band has taken such a route; in 2010, Swedish pop artist Robyn split up her Body Talk series into a trio of EPs, which seemed to heighten anticipation for each new addition in the series. Hills Like Elephants are operating on a smaller scale, of course, but based on the four songs featured on Vol. 1, it seems likely to have a similar effect.

The elements on Bedroom Colonies Vol. 1 are familiar: indie-rock hooks, Sean Davenport's soulful croon and lots and lots of synthesizers. In fact, the synths on this EP play a more prominent role than ever—beefed up, streamlined and with the volume cranked until the knob breaks off. It's not often that a band creates a record so indebted to '80s pop without overstuffing it with irony, but Hills Like Elephants pull it off with a straight face, embracing their Hall & Oates influence without apology. 

That could be a coincidence of course; I can't say with certainty that the group grooves to Private Eyes in their personal time, but they conjure up a similarly infectious sound. "Non-Fictionalism" seems like a hit to me—and one that could sound as at home on the charts now as it might have in 1984. Though, "4 Legged Comrades" has a synth warble that sounds so much like the one on Wings' "Band on the Run," and it's a little distracting. Still, it's a minor issue.

When the group steps out of a more direct pop realm, they create something equally interesting. "Acid Gel" is reminiscent of The Police's "Invisible Sun" dubbed over with samples of dialogue. But extra-smooth pop numbers like "Fall Thru" are their bread and butter, nifty experiments aside. And in a matter of months, Hills Like Elephants will deliver four more songs. Bedroom Colonies is the gift that keeps on giving.

Email jefft@sdcitybeat.com or follow him at @1000TimesJeff




 
 
 
 
 
 
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