Let It Die

To a large degree, the indie-rock movement has been about music buffs recreating the past that suits them best. For the past couple of years, a lot of them have been stuck in the post-punk '80s—just as a decade ago they were mired in the arena-rock '70s—but lately, some musicians have been hunting up fresh antiques. The Swedish stoners of Elope favor early Neil Young and glam rock, but rather than combining the two into predictably crunchy, big-hook anthems, the band picks up on how both styles salve bruised souls with heroic posturing and reverberation. On "My Expectant Killer," the first track on Elope's debut The No Name Record, the band softens the drums and guitar, letting Tomas Eriksson's fluid bass and Sebastian Aronsson's trembling voice snake around each other sensuously. "Sentimental Heart Alarm" and "Lilith," meanwhile, bite bigger chunks of classic-rock meat, with the latter using a cowbell and heavy guitar chords to power down a simple chorus. Elope covers Young's "Bad Fog Of Loneliness" fairly reverently, but The No Name Record's showpiece is the nearly seven-minute "Pride Approaching," a psychedelic boogie epic that rocks like Golden Earring, then rolls like The Beatles. It sounds uncannily like a lost classic from 1973, right down to the spacey organ solo.

Canadian Leslie Feist has more eclectic interests, and has had ample opportunities to pursue them as a touring member/recording cohort of power-pop outfit By Divine Right, hip-hop sex queen Peaches, and post-post-rock outfit Broken Social Scene. Recently relocated to Paris, Feist has supplied her surname and her leadership to a makeshift band of sophisti-pop Europeans. Their debut Let It Die combines obscure covers and Feist originals, in a mix that leans on acoustic instruments, distant synths, and Latin rhythms, evoking rainy days, cafés, empty dance clubs, and a kind of worldly resignation. The giddy "Mushaboom" is Let It Die's clear highlight, with its haphazardly assembled fragments of piano, guitar, handclaps, and sampled background voices, but while the record never gets that wondrous or imaginative again, it's light and likeable throughout, and it achieves a rare beauty on the gospel-edged title track and the seductive, post-disco "One Evening." The album sounds trifling in a good way. It's music to primp by.

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