Eric's ELKS IN PARIS Blurt Review

Eric Lichter

ELKS IN PARIS ********

 

Recorded in Paris in collaboration with Ken Stringfellow, Elks in Paris finds Green Pajamas keyboardist Eric Lichter in full control of his muse. A collection of low-key but impeccably crafted pop songs released a full decade after his solo debut Palm Wine Sunday Blue, the record not only highlights the gifts Lichter brings to the PJs' party, but also a vision that stands apart from his employers'. 

 

Aided by Stringfellow's multi-instrumental contributions and warm production, Lichter eschews the brown acid, swimming in psychedelic waters closer to the sunshine pop end of the pool, rather than the dark gothic atmospheres of the PJs. That doesn't make his music any less melancholy, mind you - the chorus of opener "A Plan So Beautiful" puts the chorus "How could a plan so beautiful go so pitifully bad?" to an angelic melody. Uncertainty gives fuel to "Back to the Best" and "Fantastic," while "Coroners Motel" puts a folk rock spin on Tom Waitsian dread. But it's not all furrowed brows and worry - cautious optimism drives "I Still Insist," while a wry sense of humor makes "Posh" as light as its arrangement. And even at their darkest, the songs ride lovely, catchy melodies that could beguile a pre-ghosts Scrooge.

 

Lichter usually doesn't get the acclaim of his bandmate Jeff Kelly, but that's due to his lack of profligacy, not dearth of talent. Elks in Paris proves Lichter every bit his more celebrated friend's equal, and that its creator's vision deserves as much attention as any other harvest from the Green Pajamas' fertile fields.

MICHAEL TOLAND