The Endless Charade

Hills Like Elephants

Requiemme Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Just when you thought every sub-genre of indie rock was already covered to death, San Diego's Hills Like Elephants tosses in another variation. The brainchild of Sean Davenport (formerly of Abigail Warchild and Gun Runner), the young pianist has spent a good amount of time dealing with the aftermath of love gone awry, which he has parlayed into a highly unique form of Motown, bluesy indie rock on his debut as Hills Like Elephants. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Possessing an old spirit vibe not unlike Marvin Gaye or Al Green, yet also boasting modern day alt-rock guitars and plenty of dancey synth moments, The Endless Charade is nothing if not unique. And it certainly doesn't hurt that Davenport can pen a memorable tune. It's a toss up whether the songs based around synth are more notable than the guitar numbers, though thankfully he often uses both heavily within the same track. Check out “Intriguing Dilemma,” which comes early in the disc and is one of the best examples of this, featuring both ethereal synth and upbeat riffage. Later on, with “The Perfect Enemy (Sushi Dinners),” he leads off with electronic work and then moves right into charged rock territory. “Background” is one of the calmer moments here, a hazy, laid back offering where Davenport ruminates over his past. Perhaps the best track here is “Inebriated Afterthoughts,” which begins with a gentle blues feel before erupting into a fast-paced rocker where the slurred vocals rarely pause for even a moment.

This disc manages to have a vintage feel with the drum machines and pump organ, yet it also features patches of present day instrumentation and shards of '80s pop, jazz, blues and dance – all together it guarantees that there's never a dull moment. The Endless Charade is an album where the sound doesn't necessarily match the mood of the wordplay: even though the subject matter here is largely about the repercussions of love, the music is often lively, playful, and very animated.

Rating: A

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Requiemme Records, and is used for informational purposes only.