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HauntFest on Main Oct 24, 2014 The third annual, family friendly event in Downtown El Cajon features two stages of live music, a carnival rides and games area, a Kidz Zone with outdoor movies, magic shows, pumpkin patches and more. 70 other events on Friday, October 24
 
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Adaptation of Patricia Highsmith novel tops our coverage of movies screening around town
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Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s musical leads our rundown of local plays
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City’s contract tweaks both tighten and loosen requirements
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A review of Cygnet Theatre’s production of Sam Shepard drama tops our coverage of local plays
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From San Diego City Council and Congress to Secretary of State and all the proposition, we have your ballot covered

 

 
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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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