What strikes the most at first listen to A Distorted Sigh is the obscurity and the complexity of Garden Of Elks; opener ‘This Morning We Are Astronauts’ is dragged around by a voluminous bass riff that involuntarily defines the band’s album pace.
This impressive dynamic provokes a physical reaction from the listener; imagine finishing a marathon with a sprint on top of a mountain only able to hear the sound of your raging heart beating in your temples as it tries to jump out of your ribcage, while painfully trying to catch your breath on the ground exhausted.
Well the album’s rhythm feels exactly like that sensation, almost causing nausea and dizziness simply by listening to it, but this musical illness is more than addictive; the band is not just about being deafening, the melodies linger in your eardrums, where they lay bare like open wounds.
Tracks like ‘Tomorrow’ and ‘Smile’ expose a full on post-punk “garagesque” palette reminiscing of Sonic Youth and their cheap guitars always remembered for their most unreachable and explosive riffs.
The unparalleled lyrics almost whispered at times, picture a distorted dystopia (“I’m not a shadow / I bleed from natural causes”) that includes the society that we are all living in.
Tracks like ‘Wing’ screams about the difficulties of simply being in the everyday life, “I can’t breathe anymore / nothing to do today, nothing to prove”.
Garden of Elks debut album is raw and unpredictable; it is built on the ashes of a genre that we all thought was dead and buried in the backyard of the late 90’s.
Maybe the overall sound does not differ much throughout, but the energy is very much present and the haunting and powerful vocals deliver an impressive message that we should all take a minute to listen to.
Words: Jeremy Veyret